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619A - 100 Years of Women's suffrage

Icelandic women had limited suffrage in the municipal elections in 1882. Three years later, the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) started a petition in support of general suffrage for women. Participation was relatively poor. In 1907, a new petition by IWRA gathered the signatures of 11.381 out of the 28.640 women over the age of 15, from all the parishes in Iceland. This demonstrated wide support for voting rights among women. In 1911 Althing (Parliament) passed a bill allowing equal suffrage for men and women. The Danish government, however, rejected the bill. Finally on June 19th 1915, the Danish King ratified an Act of Althing which gave women of 40 years and above the right to vote and made them eligible for election to Parliament. Such age limits were not enacted into law in any other country. Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, the main champion for the rights of women at the time, objected and called it “a slap in the face of women.” The provision was waived in the Danish-Icelandic Union Act of 1918, allowing for equal suffrage between men and women in 1920.