10th April 1919

Draft law introduced to give women the vote

The drive to give Jersey women the right to vote really began in October 1918, when Caroline Trachy, fronting the Jersey Political Association, called for women to have a say in the running of the island. After all, they had stepped in to fill the jobs left vacant by the men who had been sent to fight and suffered the loss of their sons and husbands even though they’d had no say in whether they should be sent overseas at all.

Jersey women’s right to vote

The following year, on 10 April 1919, the States opened a debate on the matter and, on 12 July, the law was changed. Women finally had the vote – but only if they were 30 or older. Younger women – 20 and older – could become members of parish assemblies so long as they owned their own property, but their peers would not be able to vote them onto those bodies. Neither could women be elected to sit in the States Assembly. It took another five years for this to change but, again, women could only stand for election if they were at least 30 years old.

On the mainland, women had been allowed to vote until 1832, when the Reform Act banned it. However, in 1918 – one year ahead of Jersey – the right to vote was returned to women over 30 who owned property, which was subsequently reduced to 21 in 1928.

The first woman elected to Parliament was Constance Markievicz, in 1918, a full six years before women could be elected to the States. However, as Mackievicz was a member of Sinn Fein, which doesn’t sit in the House of Commons, she wasn’t the first woman to sit in Parliament. That was Viscount Nancy Astor, who won a by-election in December 1919.


FREE Jersey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in April