A TIMELINE OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN BRITAIN
By Tim Lambert
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
1804 Alicia Meynell is the first recorded woman jockey
1811 The first women's golf tournament takes place in Scotland
1838 In Britain Grace Darling rowed a little boat 1 mile through a storm to rescue 5 people from a steamship that had struck rocks. She became a heroine.
1837-1901 Victoria is queen of Britain
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.
1869 John Stuart Mill publishes The Subjection of Women. Women are allowed to vote in local elections.
1878 In Britain a new law bans women from working more than 56 hours a week in any factory
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.
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
1908 Aldeburgh becomes the first town in Britain to have a female mayor
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
1919 In Britain the Sex Disqualification Act allows women to become lawyers, vets and civil servants. The Women's Engineering Society is formed. Britain also gets its first female MP.
1926 Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim across the English channel
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
1930 Amy Johnson flies from Britain to Australia
1936 Beryl Markham became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic east to west
1946 Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman president of the British Dental Association
1955 Ruth Ellis becomes the last woman hanged in Britain
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
1991 Helen Sharman is the first British woman in space
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 Timeline of Women's Education
A Timeline of Women's Rights in the USA