Sunday, May 27, 2012

Women's Suffrage

Dateline : May 28, 1952 – The women of Greece were given the right to vote. It is interesting to note that Filipino women gained suffrage fifteen (15)  years earlier. The issue   concerning women's suffrage in the Philippines was settled in a special plebiscite held on April 30, 1937, in which only men could vote. Ninety percent of voters were in favor of the measure. In compliance with the 1935 Constitution, the National Assembly passed a law which extended right of suffrage to women through The Women's Suffrage Bill. 

Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but also the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote. Typically citizens become eligible to vote after reaching the age of legal adulthood. Most democracies no longer extend different rights to vote on the basis of sex or race.

Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office on the same terms as men. This was the goal of the suffragists and the suffragettes. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or marital status. The movement's modern origins can be attributed to late-18th century France. Limited voting rights were gained by some women in Sweden, Britain, and some western U.S. states in the 1860s. In 1893, the British colony of New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to extend the right to vote to all adult women. In 1894 the women of South Australia achieved the right to both vote and stand for Parliament. The autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire was the first European nation to allow all women to both vote and run for parliament

 Women's suffrage has generally been recognized after political campaigns to obtain it were waged. In many countries it was granted before universal suffrage. Women’s suffrage is explicitly stated as a right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979.

Since April 30, 1937 , women of the Philippines have blazed many trails and have become a true force in politics, business, and other sectors of Philippine society. It is this right to suffrage which has made it possible for the country to have had two women presidents, and the involvement of Filipino women as decision makers in all facets of national life.They fought against many odds for women’s right to vote. Filipino women who fought for suffrage include,   among many others, Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Librada Avelino, Concepcion Felix Rodriguez, Encarnacion Versoza, Pilar Hidalgo Lim, Rosa Sevilla Alvero, Roasario Lam, Josefa Llanes Escoda, Natividad Almeda Lopez, Minerva Guysayko Laudico, and Tarhata Putri Kiram representing the Muslim women.

President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 2346 declaring April 30 of each year as “Woman Suffrage Day’’ to enable the Filipino women to “renew their advocacy and support of clean, honest elections, and pursue with greater zeal their efforts towards this direction.’’

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