Sunday, April 27, 2014

EUROPA 1982 - Historic Events - Danish women were granted the right to vote on 3.5.1982

The theme for EUROPA stamps in 1982 was "Historic Events". And what could be more important than the event Denmark chose to portray on the special stamp and cover - Women's Right to Vote.

The stamp on this Danish first day cover commemorates that momentous day in 1915 when the tightening from 1866 was reversed, Women's suffrage was introduced in Denmark, and women were given the right to vote in Rigsdag elections.

Danish women were granted the right to vote on June 5, 1915. Female enfranchisement was part and parcel of a major overhaul of the 1849 Danish Constitution. To mark the occasion, more than 12,000 women marched in procession to the square in front of the Amalienborg royal palaces. A declaration signed by 36 leading women from a wide range of women’s societies was handed in to the King and the leader of parliament. The declaration included the statement:

“On this for us so momentous a day, when Danish women’s right to vote in parliamentary elections has become an irreversible reality, we speak on behalf of thousands of women in expressing to the Danish Government and Parliament our delight at the full political rights of citizenship granted to women by the new Constitution.” Kvinden og Samfundet (Woman and Society), no. 12, 1915.

The women who formulated the declaration had deliberately not used the word ‘thank’. They wanted to emphasise that parliamentary enfranchisement was a civil right and not a charitable act necessitating gratitude.

Women from all strata of society and from every grouping within women’s associations took part in the procession (shown graphically on the cover), which was the largest manifestation of women’s political activism in Denmark at the time.

The march on June 5 1915 was the culmination of a long and persistent struggle, both in and outside parliament, for women’s enfranchisement.

Thank you Merja.

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