Women and Media

A century of struggle
against sexism


The conquest of a right

NewsMuseum highlights this centenary struggle that established the active role of women in society.

voto1In Portugal it was Carolina Beatriz Ângelo who gave voice to the struggle for gender equality. On March, 25 of 1911, the pages of the newspaper A Capital registered, before the elections, the position of Portuguese women who didn’t conform with the denial of the right to vote. Two months later, Carolina Beatriz Ângelo became the first woman to vote for Portugal. For 20 years she was the only one.

The morning after the legislative elections was marked by the publication, in the magazine Ilustração Portugueza, of the photograph of the “first Portuguese woman elector”. Her name was Ana Castro Osorio and she was the President of the Portuguese League of Suffragists.

The media coverage of this theme reached the Government, but the Electoral Code of 1913 specified that the voters included only Portuguese male citizens. It was only in 1931 that female vote was introduced, but with restrictions. Only women with secondary school or higher education could vote. For men, to know how to read and write was more than enough. The universal vote was only established after the revolution of April 25, 1974.

On June 5, 1920, The New York Times made cover with the news that Americans had been waiting for decades: “After a long and persistent fight advocates of woman suffrage won a victory in the Senate today”.

Behind them were years of a struggle that began in March 1913, in a walk of 5000 women held in Washington DC.

voto2 An event that captured media attention, but did not won a unanimous reaction from the crowd that longed to see President Woodrow Wilson. More than 100 women were hospitalized a fact reported on March 8 and described by Woman’s Journal and Suffrage News as “Parade struggles to victory despite disgraceful scenes”. Apart from the newspapers, satirical cartoons and propaganda posters were also used to challenge the canons.

A new concept "suffragettes" began to emerge in the media - a term that would make history in the feminist movement. Protests, fires, hunger strikes, all was valid to draw the attention of political community and the media, who had lost interest in the struggle for women. In England, women had to wait until the end of World War I (1918) to have the right to vote, still with restrictions.

voto3The twentieth century was a turning point between segregation and the universalization of the vote. But there are exceptions: Saudi Arabia only allowed women to vote in 2015.