In the 1880s, women were barred from voting in all national-level elections, but by 1920 they were going to the polls in nearly thirty countries. What caused this massive change? Why did male politicians agree to extend voting rights to women? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was not because of progressive ideas about women or suffragists’ pluck. In most countries, elected politicians fiercely resisted enfranchising women, preferring to extend such rights only when it seemed electorally prudent and in fact necessary to do so. Dr. Dawn Teele will offer an examination of the tumultuous path to women’s political inclusion in a number of countries highlighting that broad movements across social divides, and strategic alliances with political parties in competitive electoral conditions, provided the leverage that ultimately transformed women into voters.
This lecture is offered in partnership with the League of Women Voters and CWRU Political Science Department