Introduction: Today the world is enthralled with images of women lining up to vote for the first time, or for the first time in a long while. Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and South Africa, in recent decades have all held elections allowing women to vote.
In spite of this recognition of the fundamental importance of women achieving the vote, attention paid to the history of its long struggle has been marginalized. And, the reasons for the depth of its opposition ignored. Why, for example, did it take until May, 2005, for women in Kuwait to finally achieve their full voting rights in their national elections?
It is commonly believed that female suffrage was desired and fought for only in England and the United States. Yet dynamic struggles for womens basic democratic right appeared in many countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though these movements differed in their reasons and tactics, the fight for female suffrage, along with other womens rights concerns, cut across many national boundaries. By exploring the following topics, this essay attempts to help rectify the narrow and unexamined view of female suffrage.