My husband and I just returned from a trip to beautiful France, Germany and Switzerland. While we enjoyed the sights, touring historic castles and cathedrals, it will come as no surprise to my readers that I was also curious about the history of the woman suffrage movement in those countries.
Although the struggle for woman suffrage in the United States took seventy-two long years, that success came far ahead of that of many of our European sisters. While Finland and Germany were some of the first countries to grant women the vote (in 1906 and 1918 respectively), French women could not vote until 1944, Greek women until 1952, and Switzerland dragged its feet granting women the vote until the astonishing date of 1971. Some countries, such as Portugal gave women the right to vote in 1931 but did not allow them total equality to vote and stand for elective office until 1976. And little Liechtenstein seems to be the last, finally granting women full suffrage in 1984. So, while our struggle was long and arduous we can be grateful we achieved it when we did.
For a full report on woman suffrage in Europe, go to the web site of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver at www.womensuffrage.org/?page_id=97.