Abstract: The international history of women’s suffrage carries an intriguing paradox: the process of democratization that crossed the gender line was first set into motion in geographical peripheries. This article analyzes this paradox. Rather than building on generalizing ideological factors, the approach is guided by the actual order of events, which prioritizes an analysis of geographical peripheries, the small nations of New Zealand and Finland. By examining the social, cultural, and political factors of these two countries and taking the experiential reality of ordinary people, this study introduces new interpretations of the underpinnings of women’s suffrage and democratization in the Western world.