Women’s suffrage, also simply referred to as women’s right to vote is, naturally, the right granted to women to participate in democratic elections and exert their rights as fully capable, upstanding citizens and active members of society. Somewhat limited rights of suffrage were acquired by women in some Nordic countries such as Sweden, Iceland and Finland and even in some states in the US, in the second part of the 19th century. Organizations that fought for women’s rights worked really hard for women to be granted the right to vote, as well as gain equal civil rights as men. Such movements were the Suffragettes and the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, among others.
An English colonial state, Isle of Man, passed the Manx Election Act in 1881 and thus granted women that had properties on the island the right of suffrage. In 1893, yet another English colony, New Zealand, followed in granting women the right to participate in public elections held to choose a representative in Parliament. Only a year later, South Australia, another English colony, followed into the footsteps of her sister colonies and passed a decree by which all women in their legal age would be able to participate in public elections and vote the following year. Not only could women now vote in South Australia, but they were also allowed to run for public office, as potential candidates.
At the turn of the century, as it is known, all colonies of Australia amalgamated and became the Commonwealth of Australia. The following year, most women could exercise the right of suffrage and run for public office in federal elections. However, it should be noted that there were many limitations and discrimination ran rampant, so Aboriginal people were not given the granted to participate in national elections until the year 1962.