Mapping Women’s Political Rights

GEOGRAPHY

Women’s Political Rights Around the World
This interactive map displays three sets of data focused on the history of women’s political rights around the world. Using a timeline, the map charts women’s right to vote (suffrage), right to stand for election, and the date of the nation’s first woman elected to office. The map is also clickable, displaying more information on issues that impact women’s political rights: the number of women in high-ranking political positions, number of women who die in childbirth each year (an assessment of the health-care system), and legal issues protecting women. Keep in mind as you slide the timeline, there are three regions that lack sufficient data to be displayed: the disputed territory of Western Sahara, South Sudan, and Taiwan.

Women, like this woman casting a ballot in Juba, have the right to vote in South Sudan, Africa's newest nation. The woman with the highest-ranking political position is Dr. Betty Achan Ogwaro, the minister of agriculture and forestry.Photograph by Kainoa Little

Women, like this woman casting a ballot in Juba, have the right to vote in South Sudan, Africa’s newest nation. The woman with the highest-ranking political position is Dr. Betty Achan Ogwaro, the minister of agriculture and forestry.
Photograph by Kainoa Little

Discussion ideas:

  • Read through our article on woman suffrage in the United States. Women in Wyoming gained the right to vote in 1869, years before women gained that right nationally, in 1920. Looking at the map in the yellow “Right to Vote” map mode, is 1920 early, late, or in the middle of the worldwide woman suffrage timeline? (Fairly early, although slightly later than many Western nations.)
  • The article describes how some Wyoming lawmakers supported the idea of woman suffrage only as a joke. They thought the bill would never pass. It did, earning the state the nickname “The Equality State.” Have students ever supported an idea as a joke, only to have it taken seriously? Were these consequences positive or negative? Why?
  • In 1869, women were not only allowed to vote in Wyoming, but served as judges, a high-ranking political office in the territory. Can students identify some national, regional, or local elected officials who are female? (National leaders may include members of Congress; regional leaders may include state representatives or judges; and local leaders may include mayors, sheriffs, or city council members.)
  • Using the yellow “Right to Vote” map mode or the blue “Right to Stand for Election” map mode, drag the timeline slider all the way to 2012. Ignoring the three regions lacking sufficient data to display (Western Sahara, South Sudan, and Taiwan), what nation sill does not allow women to vote or stand for election? (Saudi Arabia)
  • Read this media spotlight on how King Abdullah is slowly expanding women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Do students think the map will change in the next several years? (Probably, as Abdullah has decreed that women will be allowed to both vote and run for office in the next nationwide elections, in 2015.)
  • Using the red “First Woman Elected” map mode, look at Saudi Arabia. Although women cannot run for office, the map says the first woman was elected in 2009. The media spotlight identifies her as Norah al-Faiz, the vice minister of education. How can al-Faiz serve in public office if she does not have the right to run for election? (She was not actually elected. She was appointed by the government.)

Thanks to Elaine Larson for the heads-up on this Current Event Connection!

Note: We’re experimenting with a new feature here on the NG Education Blog. “Current Event Connection” posts will connect educators with news stories and relevant discussion ideas featuring content from the NG Education website. 

 

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