De glemte kvinnevalgene
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionHistorisk tidsskrift, 92(2013)4: 563-590
Å framstille kvinner som en mer ensartet politisk gruppe enn menn, er felles for mange av beretningene om kvinnestemmeretten i Norge. Ser man på kvinners og menns valgadferd før stemmeretten ble gjort allmenn i 1913, trer imidlertid andre fortellinger fram – fortellinger der kjønnstilhørigheten ikke nødvendigvis skilte enkelindividers politiske opptreden. Ved hjelp av valgdata og analyser av bredere politiske og økonomiske prosesser diskuterer artikkelen de første valgene der kvinner fikk stemme etter censusprinsippet. Vårt hovedargument er at 1800-tallets økonomiske og sivilrettslige liberalisering fikk stor betydning for kvinnestemmerettens utvikling og anvendelse uten at dette har kommet tilstrekkelig til syne i de historiske framstillingene om samme tema. The mobilisation of Norwegian women as a political resource prior to 1913 In the parliamentary election of 1909, 295,000 Norwegian women were given the right to vote for the first time in a reform enacted two years earlier. Women with a taxable income – either in their own or their spouse’s right – above a certain threshold were granted suffrage and as many as 163,000 cast their ballot. The mobilisation was decisive in the victory of the conservative parties for two reasons. First, women in general tended to vote more conservatively than men and, second, the tendency was even more pronounced in the middle and upper strata of women receiving political citizenship on a national level for the first time. This article discusses «the forgotten female elections» prior to the introduction of universal female suffrage in June 1913 in the light of broader political and economic processes. It is suggested that women’s political mobilisation was closely linked to their economic mobilisation in the previous decades. Liberalisation of the Norwegian economy from the mid-nineteenth century onwards integrated a considerable number of women into the market economy. Their changing role in the urban economy, fostered partly by government reform and partly by transformation in the real economy, is important in our understanding why the elections prior to universal suffrage were characterised by very high turnouts among city women. The article suggests that more knowledge about the female elections before 1913 challenges the established historical narratives of female suffrage in Norway, narratives that have been made with universal suffrage as the point of departure in 1913. Indeed, 1913 was the year when the Norwegian Parliament granted political citizenship to all women, but at that point women had in fact already been exercising decisive influence in parliamentary elections. The election of 1909 was the breakthrough for women as a political resource in Norway.
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