A TIMELINE OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN BRITAIN
By Tim Lambert
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
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.
1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is the first woman to qualify as a doctor in England
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
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 own property or if they are married to a householder
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.
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 Timeline of Women's Education
A Timeline of Women's Rights in the USA