Women in Zanzibar divorced for voting in elections, suffrage the first battle towards empowerment

Close to 50 women were divorced by their husbands for choosing to participate in the recently held Tanzanian elections.

FP Staff December 08, 2015 16:11:01 IST
Women in Zanzibar divorced for voting in elections, suffrage the first battle towards empowerment

Close to 50 women were divorced by their husbands for choosing to participate in the recently held Tanzanian elections. The Guardian reported that 47 women were divorced for going against the wishes of their husbands and casting their votes in the ballot.

Women in Zanzibar divorced for voting in elections suffrage the first battle towards empowerment

Representational image. AFP

According to the paper, many women did not participate in the elections for the fear of being divorced or fearing violence against them. A few women complained that they were forced to vote for candidates they did not wish to vote for.

Mzuri Issa, coordinator of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) is quoted as saying, “Some of the women were not allowed by their husband to vote but those who refused to see their right trampled on were either divorced or abandoned.”

The fight for women's suffrage was always a tough one. In the US, women achieved the universal right to franchise on 18 August 1920 after a 70-year battle for their rights. But it took another 60 years for the remaining states in the US to approve. Women in France got the right to vote in 1945.

Pakistani women were granted the right to vote in national elections in 1956 and in India in 1950, the same year that the Constitution was adopted. The right to vote was granted at the same time for both men and women in India. Iranian women were granted suffrage in 1980 and the Kuwaiti Parliament granted full suffrage to its female citizens in 2005.

On 12 December, women will be casting their votes for the first time in Saudi Arabia. A landmark event, truly. Women in Saudi Arabia are on their way to gradually becoming independent. Female divorcees and widows in Saudi Arabia are set to get their own ID cards which will allow them to act independently from men. Women can register their children for school, authorise medical procedures after marriages have ended.

 

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