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Female Voting Rights and the Age of Consent

Black and white illustration of two women with Votes For Women sign. from: PWCD Female Voting Rights and the Age of Consent

History

Written by: m.wilson

A network of Christian feminist reform groups, advocated for an increase in the age of consent from 12 to 16 (and with the eventual goal of 18), with its “social purity movement,” at the closing of the 19th century (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). Prior to this movement in 1880-U.S., within 37 states, the age of consent was 10 years old, and in Delaware, it was seven years of age.

For centuries throughout much of the western world in countries like England and France, the age of consent was between 10-12 (in 12th century Italy the age of consent was documented at seven years of age), and for a long time before that, consent bore some association with pubescence. However, during this time, consent was legally relevant mostly in terms of violent rape, while marriages between men and those under 10 years of age was common throughout the globe.

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