Women in action! > First feminist wave

National Exhibition of Women's Labour (1898) Forms of women's resistance date back to far earlier, but not until the nineteenth century did the contours of a feminist political movement become visible. From the mid-nineteenth century, women campaigned and formed organisations on the basis of their sex. The first efforts were aimed at expanding possibilities for education. The actions of the women's movement led to the foundation of the first female teacher's school, and the first woman allowed access to a university education. By the end of the nineteenth century, a growing number of feminist associations were being founded, focusing on improving employment possibilities for women. The women's movement also fought against sexual double standards, which supposed that women should remain chaste while men were allowed to be sexually active.

The important battle for the women's vote started after 1890. Women were prohibited from voting because of the dominant conviction that they had weak and emotional constitutions. In the Netherlands, Aletta Jacobs was the first to campaign actively for the women's suffrage. Numerous campaigns were organised. The women's movement booked its first success in 1917: the right to participate as a candidate in elections. In 1919, women in the Netherlands were allowed to vote in elections as well.

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