11 december 2023

Nowadays it is common for both men and women to have the right to vote for the parliament in a country. The right to do so for women is not very old. In 1906 Finland (at that moment still a self-ruling Grand Duchy under the Russian throne) was the first country with general suffrage for women.

In the Netherlands this was effected as late as the 1917 changes to the Constitution. However, this was just passive suffrage. Active suffrage for women was introduced by law in 1919, effective from 28 September 1919. So from that date on there was general suffrage for men as well as women.

The first opportunity for women to vote was on 15 May 1920, when in the village of Gronsveld (Limburg) community elections were held.

Women had protested long in order to get there suffrage rights and this picture postcard (from around 1915) is screaming for that: WIJ vragen kiesrecht voor MOEDER! (“WE ask for suffrage for MOTHER!”).

René Hillesum

René Hillesum

Collector of postal history of Finland and postmarks of Imperial Saint Petersburg.

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