Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Not 100 Years On

Today is not the centenary of votes for women. Before 1832, county and many borough franchises were based solely on property ownership. Extremely few women met those property qualifications, but very few men did, either.

The restriction of the vote to "male persons" began only with the Great Reform Act for parliamentary elections, and for local elections with the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which disenfranchised far more women, since a widow or a spinster had often had the vote in municipal elections if she had owned or rented a property that made her liable for the payment of poor rates.

Even after that, though, women regularly continued to vote for, and to hold, various local offices outside the statutory framework of municipal activity. But has any work ever been done on the female franchise before then? If so, then where is it, please? If not, then it is very high time that it was.

Now, where are the 16 and 17-year-olds marching, going on hunger strike, chaining themselves to railings, and throwing themselves under horses, to demand the right to vote? What do you mean, "There aren't any"?


  1. Alexander, A.,
    Borough Government and Politics: Reading 1835-1985
    (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1985).