It has been 99 years since women gained the right to vote in Iceland and celebratory plans are already underway, reports RÚV.
School events, concerts and museum exhibits dedicated to women’s suffrage have been planned for 2015 – which marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Iceland. Even the Post Office has planned a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion.
“It’s important that we honour the work that women put in to gain the right to vote a 100 years ago,” said Auður Styrkársdóttir, Director of Iceland’s Women’s History Archives. “And it’s important to remember that the rights that we take for granted now, were not a given once upon a time. The right of women to vote is still not a given today. There are still countries that don’t grant women the right to vote and history shows us that women always need to be vigilant. It’s easy to take away people’s rights.”
Icelandic women gained the right to vote gradually.
In fact, suffrage to parliament was limited to men of a certain age, who paid taxes and owned property from 1845 onwards. This meant that only men with status had the right to vote.
In 1882 widows and unmarried women who paid taxes and were not part of the working classes gained the right to vote in their local elections.
In 1908 women in Reykjavík and Hafnafjörður gained the right to vote in municipal elections and two years after that the right passed to women across the country.
It was only in 1915 that women gained the parliamentary vote, though even then it was only granted to women over the age of 40. This restriction was lifted in 1920.
To learn more about women’s suffrage in Iceland check out the history of ‘women’s suffrage in Iceland’ written by Auður on the Women’s History Archives website.