By Tim Lambert

C. 1,200 BC There is evidence that some women could read and write in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians had a goddess of reading, writing and arithmetic. Her name was Seshat.

C 600 BC In Sparta girls are educated

43 AD-410 AD Girls in Roman Britain go to a school called a ludus. Upper class Roman women were often highly educated.

1100-1500 During the Middle Ages girls from wealthy families are educated at home. Nuns are often highly educated.

c. 1100 Trota of Salerno was a famous doctor. (Salerno in Italy was famous for its medical school. Women were allowed to study there).

c. 1200 Rebecca Guarna another famous woman doctor lived

16th Century Girls did not go to school. However girls from well off families were usually educated at home. Tutors taught upper class girls. Their mothers taught middle class girls reading, writing, arithmetic and skills like sewing.

17th Century In towns boarding schools for girls are founded. Girls are taught writing, music and needlework.

1732 Laura Bassi becomes professor of anatomy at Bologna University

18th Century Girls from well off families still go to boarding schools. Girls from slightly better off working class families often go to private schools called dame schools where they are taught reading and writing.

1811 The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor is founded by the Church of England to provide schools

1814 The British and Foreign Schools Society is founded by non-conformists (Protestants who did not belong to the Church of England) to provide schools.

1831 Dorothea Beale the educational reformer is born

1833 In Britain the government starts giving grants to church provided schools

1841 In the USA 3 women gain bachelor degrees from Oberlin College. They are the first American women to gain bachelor degrees.

1858 Dorothea Beale becomes the head teacher or principal of Cheltenham Ladies College

1865 A group of women including Dorothea Beale form the Kensington Society, a discussion society for women

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

1869 Girton College for women is founded at Cambridge University

1870 In Britain the state begins providing schools for boys and girls. In the USA Ada Kepley becomes the first American woman to graduate from law school.

1874 The London School of Medicine for Women is founded

1877 Helen Magill White is the first woman in the USA to gain a PhD

1878 Elizabeth Wordsworth founds Lady Margaret Hall for women at Oxford University

1879 Somerville College for women is founded in Oxford University

1880 Three women are granted degrees by the University of London. They are the first women given degrees by a British University. In the UK education is made compulsory for 5 to 10 year olds.

1888 Eliza Orme is the first British woman to gain a law degree

1893 St Hildas College is founded in Oxford University by Dorothea Beale

1895 Lilian Murray is the first woman in Britain to qualify as a dentist

1898 Ethel Charles is the first woman in Britain to qualify as an architect

1899 In Britain the minimum school leaving age is set at 12

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

1918 In the UK the school leaving age is raised to 14

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

1947 In Britain the school leaving age is raised to 15

1972 In Britain the school leaving age is raised to 16

1975 In Britain a new law made it illegal to discriminate against women in employment, education and training.

A Timeline of Women Scientists

A Timeline of Women Writers

A Timeline of women's rights in Britain

A Timeline of women's rights in the USA

Famous Women Rulers