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Kvinner - annenrangs borgere?

gro.hagemann@iakh.uio.no

Professor ved Institutt for arkeologi, konservering og historie, Universitetet i Oslo

  • Side: 124-135
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2014-05-30
  • Publisert: 2014-05-30

Eidsvollforsamlingen så seg selv som uttrykk for folkesuverenitetsprinsippet. De var folkets representanter og skulle gi Norge et nytt politisk system der folket selv skulle legitimere statsmakten. I Grunnlovens eget språk het det: «Folket udøver den lovgivende Magt ved Storthinget». I 1814 var dette en tillit som ble innrømmet et begrenset sjikt av embetsmenn, byborgere og bønder. De var alle menn og utgjorde mindre enn ti prosent av befolkningen. Et hundreår senere omfattet stemmeretten nesten alle borgere over 25 år. Hva var skjedd med synet på stemmeretten og på kvinnene?

Women - second-class citizens?

Like the majority of men, all women were excluded when voting rules were adopted in the Norwegian constitution of 1814. Whether they actually had jurisdiction over their own property or were self-employed, as some did, they were not considered citizens in the strictest sense. Nor did they come of age at 25, which was the legal age for men. They remained minors throughout their lives, unable to make their own financial decisions without permission from a guardian. Only by exemption granted by local authorities a woman might attain majority. Even if women were Norwegian citizens, they were certainly classified second-class. The article follows the development of political and civil rights through the 19th century and indicates how the gradual inclusion of women as full citizens is governed by a family principle. Women, who were unmarried, widowed or divorced gradually were granted majority and the right to run business in trade and crafts, while married women's economic position rather were more subject to their husband's determination. Although it took nearly a hundred years before women got the vote, the opposition to married women's autonomy has proved to be far more resilient. Even through the 20th century women’s marriage might imply loss of some civil rights, in extreme cases even the right to vote.

 Keywords: Citizenship, Gender equality, Norwegian law, Majority

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