A TIMELINE OF WOMEN'S EDUCATION IN HISTORY
By Tim Lambert
c. 2,700 BC Merit Ptah is a woman doctor in Egypt
c. 2,700 BC Merit Ptah is a woman doctor in EgyptC. 1,200 BC Some women could read and write in Ancient Egypt. Upper class women were often well educated. The Egyptians had a goddess of reading, writing and arithmetic. Her name was Seshat.
C 600 BC In Ancient Greece some girls are taught to read and write. Women from wealthy families are often well educated. Sappho is a famous woman poet from the island of Lesbos.
42 BC In Rome some girls are taught to read and write. Upper class women are often educated. Hortensia is a famous woman orator in Rome.
1100-1500 During the Middle Ages girls from wealthy families are educated at home. Nuns are often highly educated.
c. 1100 Trota of Salerno was a famous doctor. (Salerno in Italy was famous for its medical school. Women were allowed to study there).
1088-1179 Hildegard lives. She was a theologian and writer. She also wrote about natural history and the medicinal use of plants. She also wrote music and a play.
c. 1200 Rebecca Guarna another famous woman doctor lived
16th Century Girls did not go to grammar schools. However girls from well off families were usually educated at home. Tutors taught upper class girls. Their mothers taught middle class girls reading, writing, arithmetic and skills like sewing.
17th Century In towns boarding schools for girls are founded. Girls are taught writing, music and needlework.
1678 Elena Piscopia becomes the first woman in the world to gain a Ph.D
1732 Laura Bassi becomes professor of anatomy at Bologna University
18th Century Girls from well off families still go to boarding schools. Girls from slightly better off working class families often go to private schools called dame schools where they are taught reading and writing.
1811 The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor is founded by the Church of England to provide schools
1814 The British and Foreign Schools Society is founded by non-conformists (Protestants who did not belong to the Church of England) to provide schools.
1831 Dorothea Beale the educational reformer is born
1833 In Britain the government starts giving grants to church provided schools
1841 In the USA 3 women gain bachelor degrees from Oberlin College. They are the first American women to gain bachelor degrees.
1858 Dorothea Beale becomes the head teacher or principal of Cheltenham Ladies College
1865 A group of women including Dorothea Beale form the Kensington Society, a discussion society for women
1866 In the USA Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first American woman to graduate from a dental college
1869 Girton College for women is founded at Cambridge University
1870 In Britain the state begins providing schools for boys and girls. In the USA Ada Kepley becomes the first American woman to graduate from law school.
1874 The London School of Medicine for Women is founded
1877 Helen Magill White is the first woman in the USA to gain a PhD
1878 Elizabeth Wordsworth founds Lady Margaret Hall for women at Oxford University
1879 Somerville College for women is founded in Oxford University
1880 Three women are granted degrees by the University of London. They are the first women given degrees by a British University. In the UK education is made compulsory for 5 to 10 year olds.
1888 Eliza Orme is the first British woman to gain a law degree
1893 St Hildas College is founded in Oxford University by Dorothea Beale
1895 Lilian Murray is the first woman in Britain to qualify as a dentist
1898 Ethel Charles is the first woman in Britain to qualify as an architect
1899 In Britain the minimum school leaving age is set at 12
1905 In the USA Nora Stanton Blatch Barney is the first woman to gain a degree in civil engineering
1918 In the UK the school leaving age is raised to 14
1919 In Britain a new law allowed women to become lawyers, vets and civil servants
1947 In Britain the school leaving age is raised to 15
1972 In Britain the school leaving age is raised to 16
1975 In Britain a new law made it illegal to discriminate against women in employment, education and training.
A Timeline of Women Scientists
A Timeline of Women Writers
A Timeline of women's rights in Britain
A Timeline of women's rights in the USA
Famous Women Rulers
My Youtube video about the history of women's education
Last revised 2018