By Tim Lambert
The Ancient World
c. 2,400 BC Kubaba is the first recorded female ruler in history. She is the queen of Sumer, in what is now Iraq.
2285 to 2250 BC
Enheduanna lives in what is now Iraq. She is a priestess and writer.
C. 1800 BC
Sobekneferu is the ruler of Egypt
1479 BC – 1458 BC
Hatshepsut is the ruler of Egypt
C. 1191-1189 BC
Twosret is the female ruler of Egypt
C. 615 BC
The Greek poet Sappho is born
C. 546 BC
Theano of Crotona a great woman mathematician is born
Telesilla of Argos lives. She is a famous poet.
C. 470 – c 400 BC
Aspasia is a famous intellectual in Athens
C. 375 BC
Timycha of Sparta is a philosopher
C. 375 BC
Arete of Cyrene is a famous philosopher
C. 350-280 BC
Hipparchia of Maroneia lives. She is a philosopher.
C. 150 BC
Aglaonike is a famous Greek woman astronomer
1st century BC
Hortensia is a famous Roman woman orator
C. 69 BC
Cleopatra is born in Egypt
Boudicca leads a rebellion against the Romans in Britain
C. 130 AD
Julia Balbilla is a famous Roman poet
Julia Domna is a philosopher
C. 370-415 AD
Hypatia is a mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer. She lives and teaches in the city of Alexandria in Egypt.
The Middle Ages
Hilda of Whitby 614-680 is an influential woman in the Saxon church who founded the abbey at Whitby. In 664 she hosts the Synod of Whitby, an important church meeting.
911 to 918
Aethelflaed c. 868-918 rules Mercia (in central England). She is called the Lady of the Mercians.
Hildegard of Bingen lives. Hildegard is a theologian and writer. She writes about medicine. And she writes music and a play.
Trota of Salerno lives. She is a famous doctor.
Matilda lives. She claims to be the queen of England from 1135-1154. (Although there is another claimant to the throne and they fight a long civil war).
Mary Tudor becomes queen of England. She is the first woman to rule England in her own right.
Amye Everard Ball is the first woman in England to be granted a patent (for making tinctures from flowers)
Margaret Hughes becomes the first professional actress. (Before then women’s parts were played by boys).
In towns, boarding schools for girls are founded. Girls are taught writing, music, and needlework.
The first women’s magazine The Ladies Mercury is published
In the 1700s girls from well-off families go to boarding schools. Poor girls sometimes go to dame schools where they are taught to read and write. Also, in some towns, there are charity schools called blue coat schools because of the colour of the uniforms. In Britain, women are not allowed to attend university and the professions were closed to them.
Caroline Herschel is a famous astronomer
Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Women
The Modern Era
The first women’s golf tournament takes place in Scotland
Mississippi is the first state to allow married women to own property
In the USA three women gain bachelor’s degrees from Oberlin College. They are the first women in the USA to gain bachelor’s degrees.
A law bans women and boys under 10 from working underground in mines
In Britain, Factory Act said that women and children could only work 10 hours a day in textile factories
Maria Mitchell becomes the first woman member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The first women’s rights convention is held at Seneca Falls.
Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman in the USA to qualify as a doctor
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.
Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first American woman to graduate from a dental college
A law forbids women to work more than 10 hours a day in any factory
Women are first admitted to a university in Britain but they are awarded certificates of proficiency not degrees
In Britain, John Stuart Mill publishes his book The Subjection of Women which demands equal legal rights for women. The territory of Wyoming gives women the right to vote
In Britain, married women are legally allowed to keep their own earnings. Ada Kepley becomes the first American woman to graduate from law school
Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman to run for president of the USA
Helen Magill White becomes the first woman in the USA to gain a PhD
In Britain, a new law bans women from working more than 56 hours a week in any factory. A new law allows a woman to obtain a separation order from a magistrate if her husband is violent. In the USA Clara Shortridge Foltz is the first woman admitted to the California Bar.
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.
In Britain a law allows married women to own property in their own right
Women first play tennis at Wimbledon
Susanna Salter becomes the first woman mayor in the USA
Women are allowed to vote in county and borough elections
Isabella Bird becomes the first woman member of the Royal Geographical Society
Men in Colorado vote in a referendum to allow women to vote. Women in New Zealand are allowed to vote in national elections
In Britain, women are allowed to vote for urban district, rural district, and parish councils
Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman in Britain to qualify as a dentist
Ethel Charles becomes the first woman in Britain to qualify as an architect
Hertha Ayrton becomes the first woman member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
Women in Australia are allowed to vote in federal elections
Marie Curie is the first woman to win a Nobel prize
In the USA Nora Stanton Blatch Barney becomes the first woman member of the American Society of Civil Engineers
Women in Finland are allowed to vote
Women in Finland are the first in the world to become MPs
Aldeburgh becomes the first town in Britain to have a female mayor
The first policewoman begins duty in Los Angeles. Women in Washington state, USA get the right to vote.
Women in California get the right to vote
Women in Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona get the right to vote
Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra. Georgis ‘Tiny’ Broadwick becomes the first woman to parachute from a plane. Women are allowed to vote in Norway.
Britain gets its first policewomen. Women in Montana and Nevada are allowed to vote.
Denmark gives women the right to vote
Jeanette Rankin becomes the woman elected to the US Congress
In Britain, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps is formed. The Women’s Royal Naval Service is also formed. In the USA women in New York State are allowed to vote.
In Britain women over 30 are allowed to vote if they meet a property qualification. Germany and Austria give women the right to vote. In Canada, women are given the right to vote in federal elections. In the USA Women in Oklahoma, Michigan, and South Dakota are allowed to vote.
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. The Netherlands gives women the right to vote. So does Sweden.
In the USA all women get the right to vote
Sweden gives women the right to vote. Agnes Macphail becomes the first Canadian woman MP.
Rebecca Latimer Felton is appointed (not elected) the first woman US senator
Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman governor of a US state (Wyoming)
Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim across the English channel
In Britain, all women over 21 are allowed to vote the same as men
Margaret Bondfield becomes the first woman cabinet minister in Britain
Amy Johnson flies from Britain to Australia. Ellen Church becomes the first air hostess.
Spain gives women the right to vote
Hattie Ophelia Caraway is the first woman elected to the US Senate
In the USA Frances Perkins becomes the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet. Elizabeth McCombs is elected the first woman MP in New Zealand in 1933.
Women in Turkey gain full voting rights
Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot on Antarctica
Women are elected to the Australian parliament for the first time
France gives women the right to vote
Italy gives women the right to vote
Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman president of the British Dental Association
Bette Nesmith Graham invents liquid paper
Greece gives women the right to vote
Jacqueline Cochran is the first woman pilot to break the sound barrier
Barbara Mandell becomes the first woman newsreader on British TV
Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge in Britain
Hilda Harding becomes the first woman bank manager in Britain
Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes the first woman prime minister of a country (Sri Lanka)
Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space. In the USA the Equal Pay Act is passed.
Geraldine Mock is the first woman to fly solo around the world
Sharon Sites Adams becomes the first woman to sail across the Pacific Ocean solo. Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the New York stock exchange.
Switzerland gives women the right to vote
Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge at the Old Bailey (The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales)
In Britain, women are allowed to join the stock exchange for the first time. Isabel Peron becomes Vice president of Argentina.
Isabel Peron becomes president of Argentina (she was vice president but the president was dying). She is the first woman president in the world.
A new law makes it illegal to discriminate against women in employment, education, and training. Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to climb Mount Everest.
Mary Langdon becomes the first female firefighter in Britain
Nancy Goorey becomes the first woman president of the American Dental Association
Naomi James becomes the first woman to sail solo around the world
Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Britain
Vigdis Finnbogadottir becomes the president of Iceland. She is the first elected woman president in the world.
Gro Harlem Brundtland becomes the first woman prime minister of Norway. Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman judge on the US Supreme Court.
Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. Mary Donaldson becomes the first woman Lord Mayor of London.
The First World Women’s Wrestling Championships are held
Mary Robinson becomes the first woman president of Ireland. Antonia Novello becomes the first woman surgeon general of the USA.
Pauline Clare becomes the first female chief constable in Britain
Mireya Moscoso becomes the first woman president of Panama
2007 Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives