Saturday the 16th of May 2015 an exhibition commemorating the Centenary of women´s suffrage in Iceland opened at the National and University Library of Iceland. Simultaneously a website opened in Icelandic , “konurogstjornmal.is”, where the history of suffrage in Iceland is recounted. The title of the exhibition is a citation to a speech given by Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir on the 7th of July 1915 when women celebrated the suffrage in Reykjavík for the first time. The exhibition is a cooperation of The National and University Library of Iceland, The National Archives of Iceland, the Alþingi (the Parliament), The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, and the University of Iceland´s Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference. It is supported by a committee appointed by Alþingi to manage the celebration.
In 1915 all men and women over 25 years of age obtained the right to vote, with the restriction, however, that the age requirement should be 40 for women and land-labourers, the latter not previously having this right. The age limit should then be lowered year by year until the age of 25 was reached. However, these limits were lifted in 1920 so women obtained equal voting rights to men in 1920. Gradually, the age limit was lowered, most recently to 18 years in 1984.
The exhibition and the website portray the history of suffrage in Iceland, especially women´s suffrage, highlighting landmarks of the suffrage movement and the struggle for gender equality. Various library material concerning the right to vote are on exhibit along with material from the Alþingi, The National Archives of Iceland, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and more.
The exhibition will be open from May 16th 2015 to March 20th 2016.
Image 1: Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir
Image 2: Women celebrate the right to vote in Reykjavik 1915.
Mynd 3: Women of the Thorvaldsen Society in Reykjavik, 1896.