Milestone date upcoming for the vote for women

Nightingale Society press release, May 16, 2017 (for May 20, 2017)

Milestone date upcoming for the vote for women

Exactly 150 years ago, on May 20, 1867, John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment in the House of Commons to the Representation of the People Bill, to delete the word “man” and insert the word “person,” which would have given women the vote.

His amendment was defeated that same day, 196 votes to 73. It took 51 more years for women to get the vote—in 1918—and only for women 30 or over.

In June 1866, he had introduced a petition for the vote for women signed by Florence Nightingale, mathematician Mary Sommerville and 1,495 other women. Many more petitions would follow, plus private members’ bills, then marches and demonstrations.

The fight for political equality continues with efforts to increase the number of women in elected bodies. The United Kingdom is in 47th place in the world, with 30% of seats in the House of Commons occupied by women. Canada is 63rd, at 26.3% and the United States is 100th, at 19.3%.

Thank you, John Stuart Mill!

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