FEMALE SUFFRAGE: Spain marks 85 years since women first voted in elections today

WOMEN headed to the polls to vote in a Spanish election for the first time 85 years ago this week.
Politicians including Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister have issued messages to mark the anniversary. Women first voted in national elections on November 19 1933.
Carmen Calvo, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, said on Twitter the participation of women in the democratic process brought “so much” to it.
“Many thanks to all those who fought to open this path of justice and equality,” Calvo said.
The Constitution of Spain’s Second Republic, which came into being in 1931, stated that women could stand in Parliamentary elections but could not vote.
Women could stand for election to Spain’s Parliament but could not vote when the Second Republic came into being in 1931.
The women’s suffrage movement in Spain was spearheaded by Clara Campoamor, a member of the leftist Partido Radical.
Campoamor attempted to get votes for women, along with divorce rights and legal equality in child custody cases, into the young Republic’s new Constitution.
Campoamor said in a speech at the time: “How can it be said that women need time to demonstrate their capacity to vote? Have they not already fought for the Republic?”
Women’s suffrage was debated and voted on in Parliament and it passed by a margin of 161 votes in favour to 121 against.
Campoamor was opposed by fellow female politician and leftist Victoria Kent who argued women needed time to be sufficiently educated to be able to vote.
The measure was passed in 1931 but women were not able to cast their ballots until elections in 1933. Nearly seven million did so in an election that also saw Campoamor voted out of Parliament.
Women would vote one more time, in 1936, before the dictatorship of former dictator Francisco Franco ended democracy in Spain until its restoration in 1977.

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Joe Gerrard

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