Welcome to Women Suffrage & Beyond!

(Ottawa, Canada — This monument commemorates Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, the “Persons Case”, and the suffrage movement in Canada. — Photo by flickr user Richard Baer.)

Looking for something or someone in particular?  Try using our search function in the upper right hand corner!

(Quito, Ecuador September 2008 — Women and men turn out for a “get out the vote” rally in the Grand Plaza. — Photo by flickr user maverick2003.)

Learn more about the variety of ways you can contribute to Women Suffrage via our Submission Guide page.

(Manilla, Philippines March 8th 2008 — Thousands march on International Women’s Day in Manilla, Philippines. — Photo by flickr user Simon Oosterma.)

2012’s Summer Olympic Games in London began with an opening ceremony that featured a celebration of Emmeline Pankhurst and other British suffragists.  It was a fitting beginning to the first Games ever to see female athletes competing from every participating nation.

(London, England August 2012 — Photo via Flickr user Stewart Cutler.)

The Fathers of Confederation, a Painting by Robert Harris (1884).

Canada and Soviet Russia grant women the right to vote.  Image via the public domain.

Icelandic women celebrate the right to vote.

Women’s rights gathering in Tokyo concerning universal women’s suffrage.  Image via US Library of Congress.

A classic political cartoon depicting the expansion of women’s suffrage in the United States.  Cartoon by Hy Mayer via US Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons.

Demonstrators for women’s suffrage present a strong turnout in the USA.  Image via US public domain/Wikimedia Commons.

Demonstrators in the US carry a banner reading “President Wilson Favors Votes for Women”.  Image by George Grantham Baine (1865-1944), via US public domain/Wikimedia Commons.

“Inspired by Gandhi’s salt march some 25000 people have walked over 280 km to demand land reforms from the Indian government. The protesters, mostly low-caste tenant farmers and landless indigenous people, say they have been left behind by India’s economic boom.”

Photo and description via Flickr user photosquirrel.

“Lady Florence Norman, a suffragette, on her motor-scooter in 1916, travelling to work at offices in London where she was a supervisor. The scooter was a birthday present from her husband, the journalist and Liberal politician Sir Henry Norman.” Image via public domain.

In 1881 Tynwald approved the Election Bill and delivered the first instalment of women’s right to vote in parliamentary elections within the British Isles. This step also made the Isle of Man the first country in the world to give women the vote in national elections. Image via public domain.

31 women were arrested in mid-November 1917 while protesting the treatment of Alice Paul and other prisoners. These new prisoners were subjected to brutal physical and mental abuse upon their arrival at the Occoquan Workhouse, including what became known as the “Night of Terror.” (Pictured: Mary Winsor, 1917) ‪#‎SuffragePrisoners‬

Women’s March Vancouver Feb. 21, 2017

Women’s March Vancouver Feb. 21, 2017

Women’s March Vancouver Feb. 21, 2017

Learn more about the people and organizations that influenced the women suffrage movement worldwide.

(Cairo, Egypt November 2011 — Women wait outside a polling center to vote.  The first day of the first round of Parlimentary elections begin in Cairo, Egypt after a week of violence threaten to mar the election process. The day was free of violence though plagued by confusion amoung voters and electoral observers. After two days of voting there will be three more rounds till the parliment is decided. — Image by Monique Jaques/Corbis)

Find out how suffrage has involved more than gender prejudice and how race, class, and disability, among other human characteristics, have made a difference in who gets to vote and run for office.

(Tunis, Tunisia/October 2011 — Voters showing ink mark on their fingers (to prevent multiple voting) after voting at the October 23, 2011 national election in Megrine, Tunisa. — Image by Philippe Lissac / Godong/Godong/Corbis)

Think about the transnational connections among suffrage and equal rights activists and movements, and their opponents.  What has it meant to live in different nations when it comes to political opportunities?

(Kigali, Rwanda August 2010 — Women and men line up to vote in Kigali, Rwanda. — Image by flickr user kigaliwire.)

Explore articles on the site via recent posts or via the tag cloud displayed below!

(New York City 1912 — Suffrage parade. — Photo via US Library of Congress).

For a long time, today’s democracies have taken the franchise largely for granted.


in the news





By Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor Emerita, UBC; Adjunct Professor, UVic

Well before the ‘Confederation’ we officially celebrate, Canada had diverse histories and views of these histories. For many residents of the 2017 state, a 150thanniversary is insulting or meaningless. Refusal and resistance are nothing new. While often ignored and repressed, they are woven into Canada’s very fabric. The phrase, “She Named It Canada Because That’s What It Was Called,” the title of a 1971 feminist graphic herstory, invokes such historic dissent. As debates over French-English bilingualism, gender equality in ‘O Canada’, the terms Indian, Métis, Indigenous, Aboriginal and First Nation, and cultural appropriation similarly demonstrate, words signal power. While economic redistribution necessarily underlies any democratic project, linguistic respect, including acceptance of the right to say ‘no’ always matters.

Read the full post here!

No Leap Forward for Women in BC’s Election

(Reposted with acknowledgement to Equal Voice)

One point rise in number of women MLAs despite high number of female candidates on the ballot

May 12, 2017, Vancouver, BC –  BC continues to lead the nation in terms of elected women, with 39 percent of current seats in this week’s election won by women. However, that percentage is barely higher than when the Legislature dissolved a month ago.

With absentee ballots and a judicial recount still to come in this tightly fought election, the tally of elected women may change. Here are the results at this time:
* 14 female BC Liberal MLAs (of 43 seats) or 32.5 percent BC Liberal caucus
* 19 women NDP MLAs (of 41 seats) or 46 percent of NDP caucus
* 1 woman BC Green MLA (of 3 seats) or 33 percent of Green caucus

When our provincial politicians left the Legislature just over a month ago, 38 percent of the seats were held by women. Equal Voice congratulates the more than 100 women who ran in Election 2017, and the 34 who won. The election result, however, represents just a one point increase in women’s representation in our Legislature.

“This is a surprising and disappointing result,” says Equal Voice Senior Researcher Dr. Grace Lore, “We had hoped for a higher number of women to win seats.”

Why didn’t they?

The number of women on the ballot was very high – and distinctly higher than in the 2013 election. The BC Liberals fielded 6 percent more women than the last time with 41 percent women on the ballot. The NDP made history in the province by running more women than men (51 percent). This meant overall 46 percent of candidates for the two major parties were women, up a remarkable ten percentage points from 2013 and notably higher than any other provincial, territorial, or federal election in Canadian history.

An analysis conducted by Dr. Lore concludes, however, that women in Election 2017 were less likely to be running in winnable ridings than their male counterparts.

Using data from the 2013 BC general election, Dr. Lore identified winnable ridings for the BC Liberals and NDP in this year’s election. She notes:
* In the 2017 election, BC Liberal and NDP women candidates were more likely to be running in ridings where their party lost by more than 10 points in 2013.
* Women candidates were also less likely to run where their party won by more than 10 points in 2013.
This meant that for each main party, especially among non-incumbent candidates, men were often significantly better positioned to win their seats than were non-incumbent female candidates.

L-R: BC NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark

The results of Election 2017 bear this out.
* More than 50% of men running for both the NDP and the Liberals won their seats, but this was true for just 39% of Liberal women and 43% of women running for the NDP.
In fact, the representation of women in the BC Liberal caucus as it stands decreased (from 34% at time of dissolution to 32.5 percent) because a number of incumbent women MLAs lost their seats to the other parties. Female candidates running for the NDP did make strides, but the proportion of women elected to the NDP caucus (46 percent) in the BC legislature is significantly lower than the proportion of female candidates that the NDP ran on the ballot in this election.

“The lower success rate among women candidates is not a function of voter’s choices,” says Equal Voice Executive Director Nancy Peckford, “While women do face particular challenges from the nomination on, research clearly demonstrates that discrimination at the ballot box is not one of them.”

Incumbency (i.e. the challenge of running against an elected official who has already served one or multiple terms in office and is seeking the same seat), as well as the nomination process where the rules of the game are often not transparent or applied fairly, remain significant barriers to women in politics.

“These election results show that we need more women running and we need them running in ridings where they have a reasonable chance of winning or, even better, in party strongholds,” says Senior Researcher Grace Lore.

British Columbia has made Canadian history by voting in a female first minister for the second time – something which has never happened before. BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has been asked by the Lieutenant-Governor to form government. With 43 seats at current count, Clark leads a minority government. Recounts taking place later this month may revise this outcome.

Equal Voice will be closely monitoring the results of absentee ballot counts and recounts in the days and weeks ahead, and will publish a final list of women elected following the May 22-24 final count.

Equal Voice representatives are available to speak.

For more information or to request interviews, please contact:  Carolyn Jack, cell: 604-970-3234.
Thank you to the following partners and corporate sponsors for their generosity…

Equal Voice
116 Albert St. Ottawa, ON  K1P 5G3

“Men Want to Hog Everything”: Women in Canadian Legislative Politics after Suffrage Victories

By Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor Emerita, UBC

“Men Want to Hog Everything”: in one revealing phrase, Agnes Macphail, Canada’s first female parliamentarian (as of 1921), summed up the decades after the first partial suffrage victories.

There are even some men who think a woman should get a fair break. Not many, but enough to make the struggle seem worth while.

But the overall assessment was bleak.

Hillary Clinton’s fate in November 2016, and many before her, invites the same conclusion. Many men (and male-identified women), like, to invoke yet another farm-yard metaphor from Nellie McClung’s anthropomorphic Mike the Ox in her suffragist manifesto In Times Like These (1915), to resist sharing power and fiercely defend their privileges. As my 1996 article “Independent Women, Problematic Men: First and Second Wave Anti-Feminism in Canada from Goldwin Smith to Betty Steele” demonstrated, Canada’s anti-woman politics has a long history.

Read the full post here!

Canadian Women Marching in Washington: Feminist Solidarity in Historical Perspective

By Joan Sangster, Vanier Professor, Trent University

A friend’s daughter set out yesterday from Montreal for Washington to join American protests timed to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump. She may not know that she is marching in a long Canadian tradition of cross-border feminist solidarity going back to a 1913 suffrage demonstration, also timed to coincide with a presidential inauguration. From the time of the suffrage movement to labour organizing in the 1930s and ‘40s to anti-Viet Nam war protests in the 1960s, Canadian women crossed the 49th parallel to support American causes which were also their own. Occasionally, Canadian soil provided a more accommodating meeting place: in 1971, American anti-war activists met with North Vietnamese women (who could not travel to the U.S.) in Vancouver to create an anti-war common front.

Women’s cross border political organizing speaks both to the cultivation of shared feminist aims and international solidarity, though it also reveals much about the contrasting political cultures and feminist movements in different countries. Take the voyage of Canadian suffragists to Washington in March of 1913 to participate in a parade timed to coincide with President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration.

Read the full post here!

BC Voices: “Men Want To Hog Everything”


By Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor Emerita, UBC

In 1949 Agnes Macphail, Canada’s first female MP (as of 1921), thus summed up decades of women’s political experience after the first suffrage victories.  To be sure, she added the qualification that there are even some men who think a woman should get a fair break. Not many, but enough to make the struggle seem worth while but the overall assessment was bleak.  Hilary Clinton’s fate on 8 November 2016, and many before her in many nations, invites the same conclusion…

Click here for the full post!

Only the Brave or “Canada’s Daughters Shall be Free”: Respect, Redistribution, and Suffrage in Women’s Struggle for Canadian Democracy


Dr. Veronica Strong-Boag delivered her lecture at University of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Public Library on 20 October 2016.

Click here for the full post!

Recurrent Voices

By Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor Emerita, UBC

Referendums: From Brexit in the U.K. to Women Suffrage in B.C.


The entrails of the 23 June 2016 Brexit Referendum on the UK’s exit from the European Union will be studied for many years, particularly for the prejudice they may reveal….

Click here to read more!

Every One A ‘Woman Worthy’: Commemoration on Canadian Currency

Because it’s 2018, or soon will be—in other words, a hundred years after Ottawa deigned to enfranchise most but not all Canadian women in the ‘Act to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women’[2]– we are finally going to see a Canadian woman (not a British queen or princess) on a banknote. Don’t be surprised if the official launch occurs on that particular suffrage anniversary.  The designation of women, or at least one, to offset monetary commemorations of male prime ministers Macdonald, Laurier, Borden, and King has been the subject of a long and now successful campaign led by BC historian, educator, and naturalist Merna Forster (http://www.heroines.ca/about/author.html ). An indefatigable veteran and keen observer of the Department of Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada, Forster understands the significance of public commemoration. Without an inclusive practice, a nation risks losing crucial elements of itself, without which neither past, nor present, nor future can truly make sense.

Click here to read more!

“99 Years and Counting”

What a difference a century, or almost, makes. 99 years ago, on 5 April 1917, the BC Legislature passed a woman suffrage bill. Suffragists had high hopes. And in 2016, BC has a woman premier.
Enfranchisement had been a long time coming. The first bills, thanks largely to socialists, had appeared in the 1890s. The Liberal Party waited until 1912 to adopt a woman suffrage platform and the ruling Conservatives sullenly succumbed, making votes for women conditional on a successful referendum in the provincial election of September 1916. This tactic made BC the only Canadian jurisdiction requiring a majority in a referendum of male voters. In 1917, the new Liberal government amended the Provincial Elections Act to grant women the vote on the same basis as men (thus excluding Asians and Indians) and to enable them to run for office. Such provincial legislation did not, as it had previously, bring automatic federal enfranchisement. In Ottawa the Union government of Conservative Robert L. Borden introduced the War-Time Election Act (1917) giving the vote to close female relatives of men serving overseas. BC’s white women would not vote as a group until the 1920 provincial and the 1921 federal elections. Asian exclusions didn’t end until 1948 and the First Nations would not receive an unrestricted franchise until 1960.

Click here to read more!

Work Always in Progress

By Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor Emerita, UBC

inconvinient-truth-1All contributions to debates about a feminist future need a good dose of herstory. No one person or one group speaks for feminism in its entirety. That reality was not reflected earlier this month in the Globe and Mail’s choice of Maureen McTeer and her daughter, Catherine Clark, both white upper-middle-class women of a certain background, to answer the question “Is the Work of Feminism Finished?”  The reprimand found in Septembre Anderson’s “Today’s feminist problem? Black women are still invisible,” to any such stunted version of feminism provided a salutary reminder of diverse, even conflicting, outlooks, even as it made white women rather than patriarchal and capitalist structures the enemy. The potential for a more nuanced response came from the far more diverse group featured in “How We Succeed.” None of this is new. In fact feminism has always been multivocal and diverse. This has been both its weakness and its strength. Individuals and groups commonly seize particular causes that touch their own lives most directly…

Click here to read more!

Letter to a New Government

(see also the abridged version in The Globe and Mail Nov. 5, 2015) :

Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (bottom row C) poses with his cabinet after their swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie - RTX1URF7

Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (bottom row C) poses with his cabinet after their swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie – RTX1URF7

As a critic of Harper’s mean-spirited national politics, I was frequently ashamed of Ottawa. The ‘land of the fair deal’ (Nellie L. McClung) glimpsed by suffrage generations in an earlier age was under daily assault. Today, the new cabinet nearly brought me to tears. The inclusion of women, Indigenous people, and Canadians of colour in critical posts such as Justice, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and National Defence, raises hope. As the general editor of UBC Press’s new series on Women Suffrage and Social Justice in Canada, which likewise draws attention to long excluded groups, I, like many others, shall be assessing the latest stage in a struggle that has been waged since the 19th century. There are promises to keep. Like suffragists, Canadians committed to equality do not go away. Whether in the NDP or the Liberal party, we have a better nation to construct.

The 2015 Making Sense of Women Suffrage Public Panel and Lecture Went Successfully

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The 2015 Making Sense of Women Suffrage Across Canada: Panel and Lectures went successfully at UBC and SFU Harbour Centre campus on April 28, 2015.

The panel gathered authors of forthcoming volumes in the series, Women Suffrage and Social Justice in Canada, from UBC Press — Sarah Carter (University of Alberta), Lara Campbell (Simon Fraser University), Tarah Brookfield (Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario), Heidi MacDonald (University of Lethbridge), Denyse Baillargeon (Université de Montréal, Québec) and Joan Sangster (Trent University). Professor Emerita Veronica Strong-Boag delivered her presentation — A Suffragist Trajectory from Rural Poverty to CCF MLA and Activist: the Case of B.C.’s Laura Marshall Jamieson (1882-1964). Her lecture was followed by observations from the authors and the audience.

Click here for the panel film sequence:  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

Click here for Dr. Veronica Strong-Boag’s lecture: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

The 2015 Women Suffrage Bibliography Is Available Now!

Click here for it!


April Event

Nikkis event


About the Site

For a long time, today’s democracies have taken the franchise largely for granted. Canada’s federal government, for example, recently ‘forgot’ that anniversaries to be celebrated in the second decade of the 21st century necessarily include the beginnings of provincial and federal franchises for women. Unless the right to the vote was one part of a larger campaign, as with the American war against slavery or the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, most citizens, except those directly involved, have paid little attention. Women’s suffrage has been especially likely to suffer indifference and neglect except when its absence provides further justification for the targeting of suspect cultures, as with today’s western criticism of Saudi Arabia. For the most part, it is trivialized as an inevitable and peaceful concession. That woman suffrage represents one of the great extensions to democracy in the modern world, that it is frequently fiercely opposed, and that women’s exclusion from power persists needs to be far more widely appreciated.

The franchise and other forms of meaningful participation in government are the fruits of historic struggles against tyranny and privilege.  They promise peaceful ways to confront longstanding inequities of gender, class, race, religion, sexuality, and region. While their visions were regularly incomplete, the women and men who devoted and sometimes lost their lives in struggles against slavery, apartheid, the caste system, the male franchise, and special privilege in general, expanded hopes for inclusion and equality. That story of determination and sacrifice forms a continuous thread in human history from at least the 1790s slave revolt in Haiti and the British Chartist movement of the 1830s to the 1848 Seneca Falls U.S. Women’s Rights Convention, Winnipeg’s 1912 ‘Parliament of Women,’ Gandhi’s 1930 Salt March to Dandi, Iranian women’s 1963 suffrage victory, and today’s worldwide  ‘Take Back the Night’ anti-violence and ‘GBLT Pride’ marches.  Whether it rises to the top of such campaigns, the democratic franchise is central to their ultimate success.

For all such significance, no readily accessible website today concentrates on the historic evolution of woman suffrage or connects the various movements for suffrage and political equality that predate and follow franchise extensions. This site, hosted by the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, addresses that omission.

Canada and the World

While its leaders have often claimed exceptionalism when it came to bad behaviour, Canada is a prime site for comparative work. Beginning with the Indigenous peoples, it has hosted diverse communities variously bound to one another and to populations elsewhere in the world. Its continuing debates about the proper political and other relations of French and English ‘founders’, of Indigenous and newcomer populations, and of European- and African- and Asian-descent communities, which regularly in their turn imbed notions of preferred gender behaviours, make Canada a site where a wide variety of ideologies and practices with global significance play out on a smaller stage. Our section titled ‘Glocal’ above makes the case for the significance of and the connections among politics both on local (or more intimate) and on international stages. While the latter often gets by far the lion’s share of scholarly and press attention, its roots lie in individual homes and communities.

Canada is also centre stage here because so often not it is not.  The world’s ‘big’ players, notably the United States, China, Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, routinely demand and get attention. This website suggests that in order to promote more equitable relations, whether at home or abroad, Canadians need to learn about themselves at home and in a global context and we hope this initiative will help that exploration.

When it comes to the rest of the world, this website will make hard choices. We anticipate being especially interested in the British Commonwealth, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the United States, China, Japan, and leading Islamic nations. We understand, however, the limitations of this perspective and invite contributors to right imbalances with attention to other countries.


Understanding suffrage and related campaigns begins with nations, individuals, and organizations but issues are often over-arching. Our approach is designed to encourage consideration of the broad themes of ‘the democratic deficit’, ‘activism and democratic movements,’ and ‘intersectionality’ or the relations of ‘gender, race, class, religion, sexuality’ and so on.  These are all pressing concerns that we believe merit attention both in the past and today. While we invite contributors to think about their posts through these thematic lens, we welcome any perspectives that help readers better understand the complicated relations of advantage and disadvantage that have shaped political opportunities over the last two hundred years anywhere in the world.  To this end, we hope to receive discussions of both the champions and the opponents of equal rights.

  • The ‘Democratic Deficit’

In the 21st century, the limits of the franchise and democratic rights headline stories in newspapers and social media around the world. Comparisons are often memorable. Much of the so-called ‘First World’ or the Global North, including Canada, questions low voter turnout and pervasive popular disinterest in elections. In May 2011 little more than 60% of Canadians voted in the federal election; in October 2011 less than 50% of Ontario’s eligible voters marked their ballots in the provincial contest. Such voter apathy stands in sharp contrast to the agitation of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2004-2005) and the Arab Spring (2011 and beyond) not to mention the globally pervasive ‘Occupy Movement’ (2011 and beyond).

Concern or congratulation about women’s representation tends to focus on elected representatives. That long and unfinished struggle in the world at large is set forth here under ‘Global. Representation.’ Canada has not been a leader. In May 2011, for example, 76 women became Members of Parliament, the largest number in Canada’s history but only 25% of the House of Commons.  In the November 2012 election, the United States was also setting records but again women’s, like Black, Asian, and Latino, numbers were less than their proportion of the electorate: 20 female senators (including the first openly LGBT) and 81 congresswomen. Also noteworthy was the repudiation of Republican candidates who mused about ‘legitimate rape’ and ‘God intended pregnancies’.

The continued shortfall in women’s representation is of course only one expression of ‘the higher the fewer’ rule that describes so much of the experience of marginalized populations. We would argue that democracy and its antithesis begin at the base of human society in the family. Children’s experience of adult relations is the first step to building engagement and rights. We envision that some part of the conversation in this site may address that critical starting point. Early exponents of the suffrage were in fact often champions of progressive child-rearing. Thus we encourage attention to all the places where the democratic deficit is combated and fostered. In the interests of ‘knowing the enemy’, we welcome discussions of how patriarchy and other relations of power are nurtured within intimate settings.

  • Activism and Democratic Movements

The vote and political rights did not fall from the sky. Elites have rarely (never?) spontaneously handed over power. The excluded have had to demand a share in government. They have banded together in groups small enough to be represented by the famous ‘tea party’ statue of Canada’s ‘Famous Five’ on Parliament Hill and swelled streets in their thousands as with the 2012 Quebec student protests.  While demands have sometimes been narrow, alliances have been common. Indeed only inclusive partnerships provide any sure guarantee of progress.

Historically, social movements have often nurtured linkages and diverse agendas. The Political Equality Leagues that championed suffrage for Canadian women in the early 20th century were named just that because connections across boundaries of difference were possible. Some earlier anti-slavery activists extended sympathies to women and Indigenous populations. Modern unions often agitate for a fair deal for everyone. ‘Making connections’ among those vulnerable because of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, and other sources of discrimination is typical of today’s ‘Occupy’ campaigns.

Links among diverse global campaigns for equity and fairness in politics and life generally lie close to the heart of this website. It begins with women’s rights and with Canada and then extends its reach to include diverse efforts to enhance democracy.

  • Gender, Race, Class, Religion, Sexuality …

This website emphasizes the significance of intersectionality and standpoint. No human being is a singular identity. Each is imbedded in multiple relations, gender being frequently only the earliest. Our various identities encourage particular perspectives on the world. Awareness of multiple and shifting identities reminds us all of the dangers of over-generalization. We need always to ask about whom, at what time, and even exactly ‘for whom’ are we speaking. Canada’s first generation of women suffragists for example tended to speak for the mainstream settler group, those who were white, middle-class, able-bodied, and heterosexual, although few acknowledged this focus. Only a few maintained a persistently inclusive vision of social equality. Those few should not, however, be forgotten. The choices of the first suffragists were sometimes self-consciously pragmatic: only certain arguments could win over certain audiences. They had always to remember that enfranchisement depended on the support of a male electorate and male political elite. This website encourages contributors to be self-consciously sensitive to the meaning of difference for their subjects and themselves and to the interplay of principle and pragmatism that persists as a feature of democratic engagement.

Content and Conversation

‘Women Suffrage and Beyond’ provides various points of entry to the debates over suffrage and the extension of democratic rights. As today’s gatherings and protests in every part of the world suggest, politics at its best requires conversation.  We embrace that insight.  In order to evolve, we invite readers to submit suggestions and to add to its coverage. We are very interested in contributions that speak to a wide and diverse audience.  We are trying to avoid technical jargon and contributors are expected to use inclusive language: this means non-sexist, non-racist, non-homophobic, etc… We think of ourselves and the users of the website as intelligent but not expert consumers of political education.

We intend to produce and to invite short analytical and descriptive essays (of some 500 words) to introduce readers to the franchise and pro-democracy politics of individual nations, key figures and groups.  We also invite reflections from activists for our section ‘Front Lines’ and about current electoral politics for our section ‘At the Ballot Box.’ Our ‘In the Classroom’ section welcomes submissions of bibliographies, course outlines, original documents, and images in the public domain. All contributions will be properly credited. If copyright allows, material will sometimes be directly provided but we also anticipate using electronic links to documents available on sites such as those of the United Nations or Elections Canada/Élections Canada. We ask contributors to list at least two additional sources that readers can follow up and to use the APA guide to citations.