Beginning in the late 1800s, women worked for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, and sought to change voting laws in order to allow them to vote.
National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and also worked for equal civil rights for women.
The International Alliance of Women is an international non-governmental organization that works to promote women's human rights around the world, focusing particularly on empowerment of women and development issues and more broadly on gender equality.
Women who owned property gained the right to vote in the Isle of Man in 1881, and in 1893, the British colony of New Zealand granted all women the right to vote.
The Isle of Man, also known simply as Mann, is a self-governing Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Northern Ireland.
New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
Most independent countries enacted women's suffrage in the interwar era, including Canada in 1917; Britain, Germany, Poland in 1918; Austria and the Netherlands in 1919; and the United States in 1920.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe.
The women's contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women's physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote.
In politics and military planning, a war effort refers to a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force.
If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the polling booth.
But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women's participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women's entry into the public arena.
Extended political campaigns by women and their supporters have generally been necessary to gain legislation or constitutional amendments for women's suffrage.
In many countries, limited suffrage for women was granted before universal suffrage for men; for instance, literate women or property owners were granted suffrage before all men received it.
The concept of universal suffrage, also known as general suffrage or common suffrage, consists of the right to vote of all adult citizens, regardless of property ownership, income, race, or ethnicity, subject only to minor exceptions.
The United Nations encouraged women's suffrage in the years following World War II, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women identifies it as a basic right with 189 countries currently being parties to this Convention.
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.