Navigate Up

Votes for Women!

In 1881, Tynwald became the first national parliament to give women the vote in a general election. In 1919, with the introduction of universal adult suffrage based on residency, women were able to stand for election.

House of Keys Election Act 1866

The franchise was given to all males aged twenty-one and over who owned property worth at least £8 or rented property for at least £12 a year.

Candidates had to be male, of ‘full age’, with real estate of the annual value of £100, or of £50 together with a personal estate producing an annual income of £100.

House of Keys Election Act 1881

Extended the franchise to all males, spinsters and widows over 21 who owned or, in the case of the former, occupied real estate of a net annual value of not less than £4. Click here to read a report of the debate that led to the amendment.

The property qualification for candidates was modified to allow the alternative of personal property producing a yearly income of £150.

House of Keys Election Act 1892

Extended the franchise to spinsters and widows occupying real estate of a net annual value of not less than £4 (and to male lodgers who were sole tenants of lodgings with a yearly value (unfurnished) of £10 or more). The first election after this extension of the franchise was in 1897.

Property qualification for candidates removed.

House of Keys Election (Amendment) Act 1903

Introduced a residence qualification in addition to the property qualification and reduced time between elections from 7 to 5 years.

House of Keys Election Act 1919

Introduction of universal adult suffrage on the basis of a residence qualification. The property qualification was unaffected and continued to provide for extensive plural voting until its abolition in 1969.

With the introduction of universal adult suffrage, the entire electorate, with the exception of clergy and holders of office of profit, became eligible to stand for election to the House of Keys.