The first country in the world to grant women the right to vote was the island nation of New Zealand. In 1893 the course of history was changed. Over the many years and throughout many nations, the tide continued to change as women were allowed the right to help choose the leaders and law-makers of their own nations.
From that day in New Zealand in 1893 to as recent a year as 2005 in Kuwait, women are continuing to change the way their homelands see their value as contributors to society. Over the past one-hundred-twenty-one years, most of the nations of the world have allowed women to vote in national elections or local elections. Some countries, such as Ireland, Norway, and Australia, to name a few, had restrictions at the time the vote was first permitted, but the restrictions or conditions under which women could vote, were later lifted.
For example, the restrictions, which vary from country to country, were not lifted in Portugal until 1976. And in South Africa white women were allowed the vote in 1930, but black women were not allowed to vote until 1994. In some countries, women were allowed to vote, but now allowed to run for office. These changes were also a process. In 1930 the women of Turkey were allowed to vote, but not allowed to stand for an election until 1934.
There is one country in the world which does not allow women to vote still and that country is Saudi Arabia, nor are they permitted to run for office. The sovereign nation of Vatican City does not allow women to vote by default. As women can not be priests, nor cardinals, nor bishops, they are not permitted into the orders of the priesthood, and therefore, when a new pope is being elected, they are not permitted participation in those elections. Brunei and the United Arab Emirates, (referred to worldwide as the UAE,) do not allow their citizens to vote for national leaders. In the case of these two nations, neither men nor women are allowed to choose their national leader, however, they are, with some restrictions, allowed to vote in local matters and for village leaders. In Ireland, women whom leave the country, as well as the men, are no longer allowed to vote in any elections. Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus are the only European Union nations which do allow emigrants to vote in elections. The citizens of these nations are hoping to make a change in these policies.
Women have contributed scientifically, academically, and historically to the world. They have contributed economically and sociologically to the development of nations. Women will continue to do so in their homelands and helping to choose their leaders is another way to make their particular nation successful