Women’s suffrage can be defined as the women’s right to vote as well as to vie for an electoral post. Women’s right to vote had been suppressed in the earlier days of democracy. However, in Finland, Sweden, as well as some states in the western United States limited voting rights had been gained by the 19th century. International, as well as national organizations, formed to organize and coordinate efforts to gain women's voting rights, as well as equal civil rights for women. Coming to the 20th century nations of the North America as well as several nations in south and Central America passed women’s suffrage, allowing women’s participation in electoral process as voters as well as contenders for the available electoral posts before the Second World War.
Constant politically motivated campaigns by women over the time with the aid of their supporters such as human rights activists and gender equality activists have ensured that women achieve constitutional or legal amendments for women’s suffrage. In most nations, limited suffrage for women was given before the universal suffrage for men. Take an example; literate women gained suffrage way before all men received the same. It took the mediation of the United Nations for women’s suffrage to gain mileage. The United Nations came out and encouraged women’s suffrage in the period shortly after the Second World War. Currently, about 188 countries are parties to the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women that identifies women's suffrage as a basic right.
In the discussion about women’s suffrage, there are different comments given by various scholars as well as authors about the issue. For instance, there are similarities and contrasts identified when analyzing the comments given by Professor Kuhlman, as well as Professor Woodworth-Ney regarding the matter. Looking at the similarities, both professors agree on the pattern to granting women suffrage. They both say that there was no defined pattern in giving women suffrage right from the west, south, east as well as the north. Suffrage was given to women throughout the world at different times depending on the efforts they put in advocating their rights. The difference comes in the topic of women's suffrage in religion as there seems to be a pattern where for instance, Catholic dominated countries gave their women suffrage earlier than Islamic countries.
Dr. Kuhlman thinks that women were not considered as states people, and that is why they were denied the freedom to vote and to vie for political posts. This however is not Dr. Woodworth-Ney's thought. She thinks that women were thought to be citizens of the country, only that they were denied some of their fundamental rights.
The two professors also speak in common when they comment about whether gaining suffrage brought new rights. Of course, it did. Women had more rights to vote and to vie for these positions. Other rights given to them were such as being able to get education and compete for professional jobs together with men albeit at a slow pace.
In the subject of women’s suffrage protecting the status quo? There are similarities in the two professor’s comments since they both cite the Texas case where women were allowed suffrage only when they agreed that they would protect polygamy that had been ongoing. Any attempts to go against that meant that they would be denied suffrage.
Both professor Kuhlman and Professor Woodworth-Ney agree that international events contributed to women suffrage worldwide. Finally, we see that they both speak about other women’s issues such as education, racism, as well as gender equality.
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Kimberly Jensen, Erika A. Kuhlman. Women and Transnational Activism in Historical Perspective. Dordrecht: Republic of Letters Publishing, 2010. Print.
Maroula Joannou, June Purvis. The Women's Suffrage Movement: New Feminist Perspectives. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998. Print.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. History of Women Suffrage. Manchester: Ayer Co., 1969. Print.
Vellacott, Jo. From Liberal to Labour with Women's Suffrage: The Story of Catherine Marshall. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1993. Print.