The New Student's Reference Work/Women's Rights

Women's Rights. The movement in the United States is now an old one to give women equal rights with men as citizens, with the widest opportunities in securing a high education, a share in all occupations and industries in which they may care to participate, emancipation from undue legal restraints and hindrances, freedom to enter the medical and other professions and the right of the suffrage (q. v.) and political representation. The cause of women, in seeking these rights and privileges, has from an early day been strenuously advocated by such notable women in England as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, in America by Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lydia Maria Child, Julia Ward Howe, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Putnam-Jacobi and others. (See articles under titles above.) Abroad, kindred movements among the sex have been organized, with the result that many gains have been made for which women have sedulously sought. Many notable representatives of the male sex have also been in sympathy with women in seeking for and obtaining their rights, particularly in England since the publication of John Stuart Mill's essay on The Subjection of Women; while in this country much has been achieved by men's aid, especially since the era of Emerson, Theodore Parker, Henry Ward Beecher, W. H. Channing, Wendell Phillips, Bronson Olcott, W. Lloyd Garrison and Thomas W. Higginson. (See articles under titles above.) The removal of disabilities and the enfranchisement of women have also been much aided at different periods in this country by woman's rights conventions, which date from as early as 1848, the year when organized agitation began. These gatherings were followed about 20 years later by the formation of two national organizations in favor of woman suffrage, which were subsequently (1890) united in the National American Woman Suffrage Association.


The association answers an important question with the following figures giving the percentage of women who vote in the states named: Wyoming 80 to 90; Colorado 75 to 85; Utah 85 to 90; Idaho 75 to 85; Washington 85 to 95; California 90 to 99. Women have full suffrage in Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and in America in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington, California, Kansas, Oregon and Arizona, and in the Territory of Alaska. In 1913 Illinois extended to women the right to vote for all public offices not provided for by the State Constitution. They have municipal suffrage in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, a number of the provinces of Canada, in the cities of Broda and Bombay in British India and in Burma. They have certain limited franchise rights in parts of Cape Colony, Austria-Hungary and in Portugal. Women have school suffrage in New Mexico, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Michigan, New York, Montana, Delaware, Mississippi. (See Citizenship.)

The progressive process by which suffrage is acquired is illustrated in Norway: (1) Municipal franchise granted tax payers 1901; (2) tax paying restriction removed 1910; (3) full suffrage to all women 1913.