Monday, November 25, 2013

Me, a Suffragette?

This year we celebrate 100 years since the right for women to vote was introduced in Norway. Was it a man or a woman who first had the idea that maybe it was a good thing for women to vote also?
What do you think the debate was - would it be fortunate and helpful for the future if women  made decisions or would it mess up society as a whole?

I am thinking - when they voted for women's votes, only men participated. There must have been thousands of women who did their best to influence men to make a wise choice. Did they stand in the doorway, lipstick glowing, a freshly baked cake in their hands, encouraging their man to do the right thing? Did they flatter them? Did they hold their arm up in front of them, threatening with a rolling pin? Did they seriously discuss pros and cons with their husbands, brothers and fathers?

I am certain many were anxiously engaged in the cause. Some probably thought it was impossible and did not have the courage or strength to fight for it.

Votes for women became a reality even though when and how varied greatly in different countries.
It was normal that only married women could vote. In some places even that privilege was withdrawn.

Walt Disney made many movies with high morals depicting problems and challenges. Sister Suffragette is a joyful song from the musical Mary Poppins. The lyrics tells us the feministic battle in the beginning of the 20th century, where soldiers in bloomers fight for the right to vote for every woman in England. Mentor and prime example was Emmeline Pankhurst, a woman I admire. 

The song ends on this note, "Our daughters' daughters will adore us, and they'll sing in grateful chorus, well done, Sister Suffragette!"

Switzerland was late applying this right for their women. They did not acquire female voting until 1971. Lichtenstein was even later, 13 year after Switzerland. Unfortunately, there are still places on earth where women have no rights because of political or religious beliefs.

Discussing genealogy with others, I have often heard, "You have found so many names." I joke and reply that it's because I have so many ancestors. Everybody does! Actually, quite a few of them are women! Problem is, that even though we all know how families are made and how they grow in number, these women are often difficult to find in the records. Far back, mostly names of the male population are entered into records.

I am old-fashioned enough that I believe women existed then like now. It is difficult, if not impossible, to form a line of descendants without women, and without female intuition or tricks. Women were part of society and history, even if they were not always documented as such.     

Below are six generations of women in my family. Each one has a place, from Anna Magdalena who was born  in 1856, to little Sienna, my granddaughter, who has a better start and more rights than many of her maternal ancestors.



  1. Hurra for kvinnen før oss og spesielt våre formødre. Dette var et inspirerende innlegg.

  2. Jeg føler meg litt som en moderne suffragette i kallet mitt.