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

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

1869 John Stuart Mill publishes The Subjection of Women. Women are allowed to vote in local elections.

1870 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 A Married Womans Property Act allows married women to own property separate from their husband

1884 Women first play tennis at Wimbledon

1892 Isabella Bird becomes the first woman member of the Royal Geographical Society

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

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 meeta property qualification

1919 In Britain a new law allows women to become lawyers, vets and civil servants. 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