top of page

The Vilia scandal

In Greece, women gained the right to vote in parliamentary elections in 1952, after participating in local elections in 1930, where only 240 Greek women, out of approximately three million, exercised this right. However, almost a century earlier, in 1841, a group of 20 women in the Municipality of Idyllia (Vilia) made history by voting in local elections, even though it was illegal.

This event, known as the Vilia scandal, caused an uproar in Greek society, prompting measures to prevent its recurrence. In these early elections, men over the age of 25 had the right to vote, while women were excluded. However, in the Villas, some individuals devised a method to vote without interrupting their agricultural and pastoral duties. They gave the ballots of their choice to trusted representatives. Remarkably, half of the 40 people who participated entrusted their spouses with their ballots, who in turn completed the process by naming their spouses.  

With the end of the electoral process, protesting citizens reach the Secretariat of the Interior, even King Otto! The Athenian newspaper "Aeon" exposed the scandal, criticizing local authorities for accepting women's votes and trying to cover up irregularities. Despite the complaints, the election was not annulled and subsequent actions by concerned citizens led to an investigation. However, the outcome of this investigation remains unknown as the authorities let the matter slip.

Although there are no similar incidents and reports in the press, it is possible that measures were implemented to prevent the recurrence of such irregularities. For history, the women of Vilia remain the first women to participate in the electoral process in Greece.


bottom of page