1850 BC Egyptian texts describe the first known reference to contraceptives.
1750 BC The Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian law code, protects a woman’s right to hold and inherit property.
1500 BC Female students attend the Egyptian medical school at Heliopolis.
1450 BC By law and by custom, Mesopotamian women are controlled first by their fathers, then by their husbands and fathers-in-law, and finally by their sons.
776 Women are barred as both competitors and spectators at the first recorded Olympic Games.
600 Women in England may be publicly punished as “scolds,” a practice that will continue for 1,000 years.
900 The practice of binding the feet of aristocratic women becomes popular in the Chinese court.
1220 At the University of Paris, women are banned from practicing medicine.
1603 Okuni, a Japanese dancer of the Izumo shrine, invents Kabuki.
1629 Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu bans women from Kabuki theatre because it is considered immoral for women to dance in public.
1692 The Salem witch trials condemn 19 to die
1783 German-born British astronomer Caroline Herschel discovers three nebulae.
1803 Parliament passes the first British anti-abortion law
1804 The Napoleonic Code of France considers women to be legal minors. A woman’s husband controls her property and in case of divorce, the children.
1807 New Jersey revokes the right of women to vote, a right they had been granted since the adoption of the constitution of New Jersey in 1776
1833 Oberlin Collegiate Institute (later Oberlin College) is founded in Ohio as the first American college to admit men and women on an equal basis.
1848 The Seneca Falls Convention is held and launches the woman suffrage movement in the United States. The document produced is the Declaration of Sentiments, patterned after the Declaration of Independence
1869 Married women in Britain gain the right to own property.
1918 Canadian and British women are granted the right to vote, although in Great Britain a woman must be over age 30.
1920 The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is signed into law, giving women the right to vote.
1951 The Women’s Equal Rights Act, which prohibits gender discrimination, is passed in Israel.
1963 Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.
1964 The U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, creed, national origin, or sex.
1965 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Griswold v. State of Connecticut that laws prohibiting the use of birth control are unconstitutional
1966 Indira Gandhi becomes the first female prime minister of India.
1973 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that a woman has a constitutional right to abortion
1988 Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister of Pakistan. She is the first woman leader of a Muslim country in modern history.
1989 American Barbara Clementine Harris becomes the first female Episcopal bishop.
1989 Canadian women gain access to all combat posts in the military (except submarine duty) because of a lawsuit filed in 1981.
1990 A group of Saudi Arabian women drive cars in Riyadh to protest laws preventing them from operating motor vehicles. They are imprisoned and suspended from their jobs.
1990 Violeta Barrios de Chamorro is elected president of Nicaragua. She is Central America’s first female president.
Tansu Ciller becomes Turkey’s first female prime minister.
2005 Kuwaiti women are granted the right to vote (effective 2007).
2005 U.S. Census Bureau reports that African-American women earned only 68.7 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2005, Hispanic women earned only 59 cents.
2008 Gen. Ann Dunwoody becomes the first woman to serve as a four-star general in the United States.
To see additional posts on Women’s History on this website, click on: