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Women’s Suffrage

Women’s suffrage was an inevitable fruit of man’s pursuit for freedom and equality. By the second half of the 19th Century suffrage for women had become a major political issue that had powerful supporters on both sides. Starting with New Zealand in 1893 nation after nation granted women the right to vote. In 1913, Denmark was the last country to grant suffrage to women before World War I started. Women have always contested their position as merely domestic creatures.

History is replete with stories of women who ran businesses even empires at their own behest. The rise of freedom and liberty that began with the American Revolution raised their hopes of greater participation in politics. In Continental Europe, the French Revolution showed the merits, and demerits, of democracy. A much larger proportion of the people received the right to vote as property requirements were drastically reduced.

It was not far to imagine that the right would soon be granted to women as well. . No less than Queen Victoria of England ridiculed the idea of Women’s suffrage believing that her fellow women had their proper place at home raising children. The counter argument was that women being essentially gentler creatures would have a civilizing effect on the political marketplace. For example, they are more likely to support gun control because the are less prone to machismo.

World War I and the years before it demonstrated that women were capable many tasks that were traditionally dominated by men. Images of women working in munitions factories, farms and mines were compelling arguments. Equality became the most powerful argument for women’s suffrage. After all, since women could contribute to the nation as well as men could, why could they not vote to determine the course of the nation as well?

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