By Tim Lambert

14th century Famous English mystic Margery Kempe owns a brewery then a horse mill. Women are spinners, brewers, jewelers, parchment makers and glovers. Women often help their husbands with their work. Sometimes if a man died his widow carried on his trade.

16th century Women work spinning cloth. Women are milliners, dyers and embroiderers. There are also washerwomen. Some women work in food preparation such as brewers, bakers or confectioners. Women also sold foodstuffs in the streets. Many women are domestic servants. Other women are midwives.

c 1820 In Britain the Industrial Revolution creates a new demand for female labor

1842 In Britain a law bans females of any age and boys under 10 from working underground in mines

1849s In Britain a new law says women and children could only work 10 hours a day in textile factories

1849 Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman in the USA to gain a medical degree

1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson becomes the first British woman doctor

1866 Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first American woman to graduate from a dental college

1867 In Britain a law forbids women and children to work more than 10 hours a day in any factory

1870 Ada Kepley becomes the first American woman to graduate from law school

1874 The first successful typewriter is introduced

1876 The telephone is invented

1878 In Britain a new law bans women from working more than 56 hours a week in any factory

1888 In Britain young women who work making matches successfully strike against poor working conditions

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

1905 In the USA Nora Stanton Blatch Barney is the first woman to gain a degree in civil engineering

1910 The first policewoman begins duty in Los Angeles

1914 Britain gets its first policewomen

1916 Jeanette Rankin becomes the woman elected to the US Congress (The House of Representatives)

1917 In Britain the Women's Royal Naval Service is formed

1919 In Britain the Sex Disqualification Act allows women to become lawyers, vets and civil servants. The Women's Engineering Society is formed. Nancy Astor is the first woman MP

1922 Rebecca Latimer Felton becomes the first woman US senator. In Britain Carrie Morrison is the first woman solicitor.

1925 Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman governor of a US state (Wyoming)

1929 Margaret Bondfield becomes the first woman cabinet minister in Britain

1933 Frances Perkins becomes the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet. She was secretary of labor.

1946 Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman president of the British Dental Association

1956 Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge in Britain

1958 Hilda Harding becomes the first woman bank manager in Britain

1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first woman prime minister of a country (Sri Lanka)

1963 In the USA the Equal Pay Act is passed. Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.

1967 Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the New York stock exchange

1970 An Equal Pay Act is passed in Britain

1973 In Britain women are allowed to join the stock exchange for the first time

1974 Isabel Peron becomes the first president of a country (Argentina). (She was elected vice president but the president died in office)

1975 In Britain 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

1977 Nancy Goorey becomes the first woman president of the American Dental Association

1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Britain

1980 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir becomes the first woman elected president of a country (Iceland)

1981 Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman judge on the US Supreme Court

1983 Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space

1990 Antonia Novello becomes the first woman surgeon general of the USA

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