When Women Received the Full Vote in Every Country: Interactive Timeline
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, where women were giving full voting rights in the United States. In commemoration of this momentous year in history, this interactive timeline shows the year in which each country gave the vote to women. The data refers to women from that country being able to vote on a national level.
Choose a country from the drop down menu, or click on a year on the graph to see which countries granted the full vote that year.
Total Countries with Full Enfranchisement
Total Countries by Year
Total Countries with Full Enfranchisement
Timeline of Women's Suffrage in the USA
While women in the United States got the vote in 1920, their fight for suffrage goes as far back as the 1600s. It was after numerous organizations, speeches and demonstrations that women in the United States eventually gained the right to vote. Iconic women across centuries worked tirelessly to campaign for women’s rights, with the 19th Amendment finally bringing women success.
Historically, women had been the homemakers of society, focusing on maintaining the home, being supported financially by their husbands and raising children. This focus meant women had limited voices in the public and political spheres, and had virtually no impact on important matters outside of domesticity.
The fight for women’s suffrage has also been tied in with other issues such as race discrimination, especially since there were more voting barriers facing women of colour. While white women gradually gained the right to vote in certain elections, women of colour were not granted this opportunity, since their race meant they were unable to own property and meet one of the key voting requirements.
Our women’s suffrage timeline takes you through some of the most important moments in women’s suffrage in the United States, from 1648 to 2020. From conventions, protests and post-1920 events appointing women to important positions usually reserved for men, you can see how women’s suffrage was fought for and how it affected society, the lives of women and their opportunities after the passing of the 19th Amendment.
1648 - Margaret Brent
- Margaret Brent was an unmarried woman with property serving as the lawyer for Lord Baltimore. She was a successful businesswoman, which was very unusual for women at the time, especially since women were traditionally confined to the home and were to be focused on childcare. Her independence made her stand out, and being unmarried meant she could legally own and manage her own property.
- She was considered to be America’s first feminist after attempting to fight for two vote in Maryland’s all-male colonial assembly, one for herself as a landowner and one as Lord Baltimore’s attorney, but she was denied due to her gender. The assembly wasn’t ready to give a woman this sort of power that was only reserved for men. During this time, only men who were mainly white, Christian, over 21 and property owners had the right to vote, and men outnumbered women six to one.
- While she wasn’t successful in her attempt to get a vote, Margaret Brent’s bravery and courage to request this in front of an all-male assembly at the time is to be admired and remembered.
1756 - Lydia Taft
- Lydia Taft of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was a recent widow of Josiah Taft and was allowed to vote as Josiah’s proxy during a town meeting. The vote was to gauge the town’s views on the involvement in the French and Indian Wars. Thus, Lydia Taft was the first white woman to vote in what would later be the United States.
1776 - The New Jersey Constitution
- This constitution allowed residents who own a particular amount of property to vote, without reference to gender or race. Unmarried women, widowed women, or black men would be able to vote if they met the other requirements.
1838 - Kentucky law
- In Kentucky, a statewide law was passed regarding women’s suffrage. The law granted the vote to female heads of households in elections deciding on taxes and schools.
1840 - Exclusion from the 1840 World Antislavery Congress
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and other women were prohibited to speak at the Congress that took place in London. They were denied participation, and were only allowed to attend as spectators. Their exclusion became significant as it prompted Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott to establish a society to advocate the rights of women.
1846 - New York State Constitutional Convention
- Six women in the state petitioned the New York State Constitutional Convention, asking for “equal, and civil and political rights” to the white men in the state. Despite being property-owning women, their demands were still denied.
1848 - Women’s Rights Convention (Seneca Falls Convention)
- This year saw the first Women’s Rights Convention take place in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention was organized in part by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and three hundred people attended, including African American social reformer Frederick Douglass.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes The Declaration of Sentiments that creates the itinerary for women’s activism for the next decades to come, preparing female activists for the most important issues and strategies to fight for women’s suffrage. Out of the three hundred people present, one hundred of them signed the declaration.
1849 - Michigan Senate Committee Proposition, California State Constitution
- 1849 might have been a significant year for women’s rights. A Michigan Senate committee proposed that the state introduce universal suffrage, but this idea was dissolved within the committee since women voting was seen to be unusual and unnecessary.
- The first state constitution of California also extended property rights to women, which was a massive step forward for women’s rights and independence in the state.
1850 - First National Women’s Rights Convention
- The first National Women’s Rights Convention took place in Worcester, Massachusetts, with almost 1000 men and women attending from eleven different states, including California.
- At the convention, strong allegiance was created with the Abolitionist Movement.
1851 - Sojourner Truth and the Second National Women’s Rights Convention
- Sojourner Truth, American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, gave her Ain’t I a Woman speech at a Women’s Convention in Ohio. The speech combined women’s and African-American rights in the United States, challenging the notion that black women are considered not equal to white women.
- The Second National Women’s Right Convention also took place this year, again in Worcester, Massachusetts. Another eight of these conventions would take place over the upcoming years.
1857 - Iowa’s New State Constitution
- Having significant impact on black women, the new state constitution of Iowa specifically declared that you must be “white” in order to vote.
- This is an example of how women of colour have historically faced more barriers to their freedom, since their right to vote was prevented by both their gender and their race.
1861 - Kansas’ State Constitution
- Kansas State was formed from Kansas Territory, integrating into the United States. As part of the new constitution, women were given rights to participate in school district elections.
1862 - Oregon Laws
- In Oregon, women who were widowed, had children and owned taxable property were enabled to vote in school elections. This only applied to white women, however, since there were restrictions on property ownership for women of colour.
1866 - American Equal Rights Association
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony established this organization, which was dedicated to achieving suffrage for all, regardless of gender or race. This was a more inclusive way of fighting for women’s suffrage and bringing together common issues among different groups of people.
1868 - The Fourteenth Amendment
- The Fourteenth Amendment was introduced in the United States in 1868, which blurred the boundaries of what rights could be given to certain groups of people. Declaring that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” the amendment brought up questions and concerns about what it means to be a citizen.
1869 - The National Woman Suffrage Association and Wyoming Territory.
- On May 15, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and other women. This organization was based in New York and was more radical in its attempt to achieve the vote through a Constitutional amendment.
- In November, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was founded largely by members of the New England Woman Suffrage Association.
- In December, Wyoming Territory granted all women unrestricted suffrage. This was before Wyoming had become an official state in America, and the territory was the first place in the entire world to give women the vote.
1871 - Victoria Woodhull
- Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to address a House committee when she testified to the Judiciary Committee of the United States, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment grants women the right to vote. Unfortunately, the committee did not agree with her argument.
1872 - Susan B. Anthony Votes Illegally
- In Rochester, New York, Susan B. Anthony and other women voted in the presidential election. Anthony was arrested and charged with voting illegally, with her case being heard by a federal court which gave their decision in 1873.
1873 - United States v. Susan B. Anthony
- After her illegal voting, the court declared that citizenship does not automatically allow a person the right to vote. Therefore, Susan B. Anthony was convicted of voting despite not having the legal rights to do so, and was fined $100. The judge ruled that she will not be jailed for failure to pay, meaning her case was not considered by the Supreme Court.
1874 - Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
- This organization became an important proponent in the fight for women’s voting rights
- One of most prominent opponents to women's suffrage was the liquor lobby, fearing women would use their vote to prohibit the sale of alcohol.
1878 - Women’s Suffrage Amendment
- A Woman’s Suffrage Amendment was proposed to the U.S. Congress, but was rejected. The 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, which was passed 41 years later, was phrased the same as this 1878 Amendment.
1887 - The First Senate Vote
- For the first time, a vote on women’s suffrage was taken within the Senate, and got defeated.
1888 - The International Council of Women
- The International Council of Women was established by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and other women in Washington, D.C. This group was an internationally-focused organization advocating for women’s rights, including their suffrage. In general, it aimed to promote the advancement of women in society.
1890 - The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association
- These two groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
- This year also marked the state of the Progressive Era in American history, a time when women entered public life and their roles would expand beyond the home. As a result of this societal change and modernism, the debate around women’s suffrage found its way into mainstream politics.
1909 - National Woman’s Day, February 28
- In New York City, women workers recognised National Women’s Day which was in part an attempt to demand women’s right to vote. Today, the day is known as International Women's Day and is celebrated around the world on March 8.
1912 - Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party
- For the first time ever, women’s suffrage was supported by a major political party at the national level by Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party.
1913 - The Woman’s Suffrage Procession
- This procession was organized by Alice Paul and the Congressional Union, and took place through the streets of Washington D.C. on the eve of Woodrow Wilson’s presidential election. This was the largest parade held up to that time, and it drew almost half a million people to watch. There were some injuries among women taking part as mobs attacked the paraders, however no arrests were made.
1916 - Jeannette Rankin
- Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.
1917 - Banners Outside The White House
- Women who were part of the National Woman’s Party stood in front of the White House holding two banners, one saying “Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage?” and the other saying “How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?”
1918 - Woodrow Wilson’s Speech
- President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech that promoted the United States as an ideal democratic state during the First World War. By asserting the United States in this way and as a war measure, Wilson urged Congress to support women’s suffrage. He showed his support for the cause and addressed the Senate to adopt women’s suffrage at the end of the war.
1920 - The 19th Amendment
- While states had gradually been ratifying the 19th Amendment throughout 1919 and 1920, on August 26 1920, the 19th Amendment was formally certified into law by the U.S. Secretary of State.
- While women in the United States were able to vote after this law was passed, there were still many hurdles facing women of colour. Poll taxes and literacy tests meant black voters remained disenfranchised until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed. This act eventually outlawed these discriminatory voting practices and gave all Americans the ability to vote freely.
1923 - 75th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention
- At this anniversary, Alice Paul proposed an Equal Rights Amendment, addressing inequalities that were not solved by the 19th Amendment. While women were given the right to vote, there were many other aspects of life where they experienced inequality.
1933 - First Female Secretary of Labor and Federal Social Service Bureaus
- Appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frances Perkins became the first female Secretary of Labor in the United States. Women also gained more positions in federal social service bureaus during the New Deal years, at the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Democration women’s leader Molly Dewson.
1941 - World War Two
- The United States entered World War Two in 1941, which meant millions of women were recruited for defense industry jobs and formed a significant part of the labor force while men were being drafted. As the first women’s military corps, WAC and WAVE were established.
1961 - President’s Commission On The Status Of Women
- Headed by Eleanor Roosevelt, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women was established. This successfully pushed the Equal Pay Act to passage in 1963, which was the first federal law to require compensation for men and women in federal jobs.
1966 - National Organization For Women
- Founded by Betty Friedan and other associates, the National Organization For Women promoted child care for working mothers, abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s participation in larger society.
- Three years earlier, Betty Friedan had published The Feminist Mystique, a book that made awareness of the disatisfaction about women’s limits in society.
1972 - Equal Rights Amendment
- Nearly 50 years later, President Richard Nixon signed the Equal Rights Amendment after it passed through both houses. The Civil Rights Act bans discrimination in employment and education, letting Shirley Crisholm become the first black American to run for president.
1973 - Roe V. Wade
- During Roe V. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court claimed a women’s right to first trimester abortions without state intervention. This gave women more autonomy over their bodies, expanding their freedom and independence even more.
1974 - Ella Grasso, First Woman Governor
- In 1974, Ella Grasso of Connecticut was the first woman elected as Governor in her own right, without any influence of a husband.
1981 - Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman To Serve On The Supreme Court
- Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
1984 - Geraldine Ferraro, First Female Vice President Nominee
- Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman from a major political party nominated for the position of Vice President.
2005 - Condoleezza Rice, First Black Female Secretary Of State
- Condoleezza Rice was the first black female Secretary of State when she was appointed by President George W. Bush. She was the second black American to hold this position, as well as the second female.
2009 - Sonia Sotomayor, First Hispanic American To Serve In The Supreme Court
- Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic American and the third woman to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court when she was nominated in 2009.
2016 - Hillary Clinton, First Lady to First Presidential Nominee
- Hillary Clinton was First Lady between 1993 and 2001 when her husband, Bill Cinton, was in office. She was then nominated as a presidential candidate in 2016, making her the first woman to assume this position in a major political party.
2017 - Nikki Haley and Catherine Cortez Masto
- Nikki Haley was the first Indian American to serve in a cabinet-level position when President Donald Trump appointed her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
- Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina to be elected to the United States Senate.
2020 - 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in the United States
- On August 26th, women in the United States will be celebrating 100 years since the 19th Amendment was certified into law, allowing women the right to vote.