A TIMELINE OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN BRITAIN

By Tim Lambert

Early Women's Rights

1135-1154

Matilda claims the throne of England but there is another claimant called Stephen and the two fight a long civil war

1553

Mary Tudor becomes queen of England. She is the first woman to rule England in her own right.

1637

Amye Everard Ball is the first woman in England to be granted a patent (for making tinctures from flowers)

1660

Margaret Hughes becomes the first professional actress. (Before then women's parts were played by boys).

17th Century

In towns boarding schools for girls are founded. Girls are taught writing, music and needlework.

1693

The first women's magazine The Ladies Mercury is published

1792

Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Women's Rights in the 19th Century

1804

Alicia Meynell is the first recorded woman jockey

1811

The first women's golf tournament takes place in Scotland

1842

A law bans women and boys under 10 from working underground in mines

1847

A Factory Act said that women and children could only work 10 hours a day in textile factories

1853

In Britain an Act for the Better Prevention and Punishment of aggravated assaults upon women and children is passed. A man who beats his wife can be imprisoned for up to 6 months with or without hard labor.

1867

A law forbids women to work more than 10 hours a day in any factory

1868

Women are first admitted to university in Britain but they are awarded certificates of proficiency not degrees

1869

John Stuart Mill publishes The Subjection of Women. Women are allowed to vote in local elections.

Married women are legally allowed to keep their own earnings

1878

In Britain a new law bans women from working more than 56 hours a week in any factory. A law allows a woman to obtain a separation order from a magistrate if her husband is violent.

1880

In Britain three women are awarded degrees by the University of London. They are the first women to be awarded degrees by a British university.

1882

In Britain a law allows married women to own property in their own right

1884

Women first play tennis at Wimbledon

1888

Women are allowed to vote in county and borough elections

1892

Isabella Bird becomes the first woman member of the Royal Geographical Society

1894

Women are allowed to vote in urban district, rural district and parish councils

1895

Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman in Britain to qualify as a dentist

1898

Ethel Charles becomes the first woman in Britain to qualify as an architect

1899

Hertha Ayrton becomes the first woman member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers

Womens Rights in the 20th Century

1908

Aldeburgh becomes the first town in Britain to have a woman mayor (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson)

1913

Emily Dawson is the first woman magistrate in Britain

1914

Britain gets its first policewomen

1917

In Britain the Women's Royal Naval Service is formed

1918

In Britain women over 30 are allowed to vote if they meet a property qualification

1919

A new law opens certain professions to women. They are allowed to be solicitors, barristers, vets and chartered accountants. They are also allowed to be magistrates and members of juries. The Women's Engineering Society is formed. Britain also gets its first female MP.

1922

Ivy Williams is the first woman called to the bar of England and Wales

1923

Ethel Mary Colman is the first woman Lord Mayor in Britain (of Norwich)

1928

In Britain all women over 21 are allowed to vote the same as men

1929

Margaret Bondfield becomes the first woman cabinet minister in Britain

1946

Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman president of the British Dental Association

1955

Barbara Mandell becomes the first woman newsreader on British TV

1956

Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge in Britain

1958

Hilda Harding becomes the first woman bank manager in Britain

1970

An Equal Pay Act is passed in Britain

1972

Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge at the Old Bailey (The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales)

1973

In Britain women are allowed to join the stock exchange for the first time

1975

The Sex Discrimination Act makes it illegal to discriminate against women in employment, education and training

1976

Mary Langdon becomes the first female fire fighter in Britain

1979

Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Britain

1983

Mary Donaldson becomes the first woman Lord Mayor of London

1995

Pauline Clare becomes the first female chief constable in Britain

A History of Women's Clothes

A History of Women's Underwear

A History of Women's Jobs

A History of Women's Rights

A History of Women's Education

A Timeline of Women's Rights in the USA

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