Women’s Right to Vote in Finland
July 20, 1906

Number of female heads of state to date: 3

RYB Finland

Finland 1906: The revolutionary roots of women’s suffrage

An International Women’s Day tribute – Eric Blanc
In 1906, Finland became the world’s first nation to grant full female suffrage. This watershed achievement for women was won by Finnish socialists during the revolutionary upheaval that swept the Czarist empire to which Finland belonged.
Yet this important history has been overlooked by both academics and activists. Abraham Ascher’s standard work on the 1905 revolution in Czarist Russia, for instance, completely omits any mention of Finnish suffrage and argues that “the efforts of women to achieve equality bore few concrete results during the revolution.” In the few non-Finnish books that address the 1906 victory, the role of the socialist movement is generally marginalized: David Kirby writes that suffrage “was conceded virtually without a struggle” and Barbara Evans Clements portrays mainstream feminists like Alexandra Gripenberg as the suffrage battle’s main protagonists.

Women’s Suffrage in Finland - Finnish seamstresses, 1906

Finnish women’s suffrage from the international perspective

The web site Centenary of women’s full political rights presents events of the centenary year and background information. It deals with the history of the women’s suffrage in Finland and provides basic information on women’s political rights. It is hoped that the pages will serve the citizens interested in the issue, women’s NGOs, organisers of various events, schoolchildren and students, and the media. The web site is produced by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health together with the Christina Institute of the University of Helsinki. The establishment of the web site and links has been supported by, among others, women’s NGOs, universities, different ministries, and Statistics Finland.

Finnish women won the right to vote a hundred years ago | Embassy of Finland, The Hague

Finnish women were the first in the world fully to exercise the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections a hundred years ago. With this came a reform of the parliamentary system.
Women in New Zealand and Australia won the right to vote before their Finnish counterparts. However, Finnish women were the first in Europe to win the right to vote and the first in the world to have their eligibility for office recognised, i.e. to be able stand as candidates at elections.

Facts and figures

Leadership and political participation – [UN Women]
Women in Parliaments: World Classification – [IPU]