chapter  18
12 Pages

Voting as an Act of Estate or Voting as an Act of Class?

Voting Women in Swedish Towns, c. 1720–1920
WithÅsa Karlsson Sjögren

This chapter analyses women's voting experiences in Swedish towns over a long period before that event, from the Age of Liberty in eighteenth-century Sweden up to 1921. It discusses how gendered meanings of voting interacted with the changing economic and legal structures of the town. The chapter contributes to a discussion of how national and local politics interacted in the development of gender and politics from an estate-based to a class-based society. It also concentrates on formal routes to political influence and thereby addresses a quite narrow definition of politics – as an act of influence on decision-making in a community at local, regional or national levels. Gender, politics and power have been central themes within gender studies, which has contributed to developing the concept of politics to extend to a broader understanding of power relations, formal as well as informal. The Swedish political institutions differed in some ways compared to other European countries.