Step 2 Part 1 Fact Sheet 4: women's suffrage in Finland

Women’s Suffrage in Finland

Women representatives at the Finnish parliament in 1907

In 1884, the Finnish Women’s Association was established. One of their main goals was to secure women’s rights to vote. Initially, the association sparked controversy among other groups of women. Bourgeois women were not convinced that working class women should have a right to vote. Because of this sharp dispute, the women’s vote became a central issue in the political debate. During the General Strike in 1905, Fins decided that a radical solution was needed and the vote for women became one of the strikers’ demands.

In 1905, Finland passed the right to vote and stand for election for both women and men. It thereby became the first nation in Europe to allow women as parliamentary candidates, and the first to adopt universal suffrage. In the following year, women were first elected as members of the Finnish parliament: 19 women were elected out of a total of 200 representatives. (source)