Timeline of women's rights (other than voting): Wikis


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Laura Bassi. The first female professor in Europe
Dorothea Erxleben. The first female doctor in Germany
Portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell by Joseph Stanley Kozlowski, 1905. Syracuse University Medical School collection.
Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912.

The timeline signifies the major events in the development of women's rights and issues of gender inequality. It does not concentrate merely on the right to vote (Timeline of women's suffrage).


Before the 19th century

  • 622 Arabia: The Constitution of Medina is declared, which outlines many of Muhammad's early reforms under Islam, including an improved legal status for women in Islam, who were generally given greater rights than women in pre-Islamic Arabia[1][2] and medieval Europe.[3]
  • 1718: Sweden: Female taxpaying members of the cities' guilds are allowed to vote and stand for election during the age of liberty; this right is banned (for local elections) in 1758 and (general elections) in 1771.
  • 1754: Dorothea Erxleben the first woman doctor in Germany.
  • 1776: France: Female tailors are allowed in to the guild of tailors.
  • 1778: Sweden: unmarried women are allowed to leave their home town to give birth anonymously and have the birth registered anonymously, to not answer any questions about the birth and, if they choose to keep their child, to have their unmarried status not mentioned in official documents to avoid social embarrassment.
  • 1788: France: noble widows are known to have voted to the Assembly of the Estates in 1788-89 in the absence of a male guardian. United States of America (to stand for election).
  • 1789: France is the first country in Europe where it is suggested that women are to be in the Assembly of the Estates, there are several demands to include women in the reforms of the right to vote.
  • 1790: Equal inheritance rights in France (later abolished).
  • 1792: The reformed laws of marriage and divorce greatly favours women's equal rights in France, but all of these laws are abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte's Code Napoleon in 1804.
  • 1792: Local women-units of the defense army are founded in several cities of France; although the military was never officially open to women, about eight thousand women were estimated to have served openly in the French armé in local troops (but not in the battle fields) between 1792 and 1794, but women were officially barred from the armé in 1795.
  • 1793: The question of women's right to vote is discussed in the French parliament; women's right to vote is acknowledged as a principle, but it is still put aside with the view that the time is not right to make this a reality and therefore got postponed.

19th century

  • 1810: Unmarried women in Sweden are allowed to be declared of legal majority by royal dispensation.
  • 1821: The first Women's university is founded in the USA.
  • 1829: Sati is banned in India.
  • 1833: The first co-educational university open to both sexes is founded in Ohio in the United States.
  • 1839: Britain: it is made possible for mothers to be made guardian for children at divorce. Married women are allowed separate economy from their husbands in the state of Mississippi in USA.
  • 1841: The first girl's school makes education for women available in Bulgaria.
  • 1842: In Sweden, both boys and girls are now by law expected to attend school.
  • 1845: Equal inheritance for sons and daughters, (in the absence of a will) in Sweden.
  • 1846: Professions within the trades are opened on the same terms as men for all unmarried women in Sweden.
  • 1847 Belgium: Elementary school for both genders
  • 1848: Separate economy and independence allowed for women in the state of New York in the United States.
  • 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first women doctor in USA, and in 1858 also in Great Britain.
  • 1850: Legal majority for (unmarried) women in Iceland.
  • 1851: Women who fulfill the demands of personal economic wealth are granted citizenship in Guatemala.
  • 1853: Women formally allowed to teach at universities in Sweden.
  • 1854: Equal inheritance rights in Norway. Married women granted separate economy and legal majority in the state of Massachusetts in USA.
  • 1857: Women (if unmarried) are declared to be of legal majority in Denmark; no longer minors in law. Divorce is, in reality, allowed in Great Britain.
  • 1858: Legal majority for women in Sweden.
  • 1859: Several professions of lower officials are opened to women in Sweden. Married women granted the right to own property in Canada.
  • 1861: The profession of dentist is open to women in Sweden; Rosalie Fougelberg becomes the first woman dentist and the personal dentist of the queen in 1867. Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first woman dentist in USA. Julie-Victoire Daubié becomes the first female student in France.
  • 1863: Unmarried women in Norway granted legal majority (at the same age as men in 1869).
  • 1864: Legal majority for women in Finland. Unmarried female workers are given the same rights as men within the industry in Sweden. Husbands are forbidden to abuse their wives in Sweden.
  • 1865: Legal majority for unmarried women in Italy is granted by the new constitution. Women are allowed to study in Switzerland.
  • 1867: Women allowed to study in Russia (at the same terms as men in 1905) and in Finland (at the same terms as men in 1901).
  • 1868: The United States formally allows women to study, although several universities had already been open to women earlier.
  • 1870: Legal majority for unmarried women in Great Britain; this law is improved in 1874, 1882, and in 1893.

Women are allowed to study in Sweden; the first female student is Betty Pettersson. The murder of female infants are banned in India.

  • 1871: Japan: The first female students are granted scholarships to the United states.
  • 1872: Arranged marriages are forbidden in Sweden. Canada: Women with dependent children who have no husband may have homestead land in accordance with the Public Lands of the Dominion Statute. Japan: geishas are made independent.
  • 1873: Britain: Mothers are granted guardianshp for children at divorce. Custody of Infants Act 1873. Japan: Schools for the education of women to various professions are founded.
  • 1874: Aletta Jacobs becomes the first woman allowed to study medicine in The Netherlands. The universities of Italy open to women. Married women are granted economical equality and legal majority in Sweden. The first female trade union in France. Japan: Elementary education for both genders, the profession of school teacher is opened to both sexes.
  • 1875: Women allowed in the universities of Denmark.
  • 1876: Women formally allowed to study in Great Britain.
  • 1877: Women are allowed to study in Chile.
  • 1878: Equality in inheritance in Finland. Britain: Abuse are granted as ground for divorce.
  • 1879: Brazil: Women allowed to attend university.
  • 1880: Women are allowed to study in France and in the universities in Belgium, and in Australia and Canada.
  • 1882: Married women of Great Britain are granted separate economy and legal majority. Married Women's Property Act 1882. Women are granted legal majority in the USA as a whole. Elementary school for both genders in France.
  • 1883: Coeducation at the universities of Romania.
  • 1884: Universities open to women in Norway, and legal majority is granted to unmarried women in Germany and Mexico. Ontario: married women are given control over their own property.
  • 1885: Divorce is again allowed in France (after having been abolished since 1814).
  • 1886: Britain: Josephine Butler puts a stop to the prostitution reglement. The first women attend university in Mexico.
  • 1888: In Spain, women are allowed to study with a written approval from a male guardian. Legal majority for married women in Norway.
  • 1889: Swedish women electable to social boards in schools and poor-care.
  • 1891: Females younger than 12 are banned from marrying (Child marriage) in India.
  • 1895: Separate economy allowed for married women in the state of South Carolina in the United States. Women allowed to work as barristers in Upper Canada.
  • 1896: The universities of the double monarchy Austria-Hungary (and thereby also the future Czech Republic and Slovakia) are open to women. The profession of lawyer are opened to both sexes in USA as a whole - but the first female lawyer in an American state was recorded already in 1869.
  • 1898: The first female students accepted in Haiti.
  • 1899: Legal majority for married women in Denmark.

20th century

  • 1900: Legal majority for women in Belgium and married women in Iceland. Girls schools are founded in Egypt and Tunisia and a women's university in Japan. The profession of lawyer are opened to both sexes in France.
  • 1902: Foot binding is abolished in China, after having handicapped women's feet since ca 1010.
  • 1904: Legal majority for women in France. Divorce is legalized in Mexico.
  • 1906: Finland (to stand for election).
  • 1907: The first coeducational university opens in Japan. Norway (to stand for election). Finland (first female Members of Parliament).
  • 1908: Married women in France granted legal majority and economical equality, and the women of all of Germany are allowed to study.
  • 1917: Netherlands (to stand for election)
  • 1919: Married women in Italy granted legal majority. The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 in Great Britain.
  • 1920: The first female students are accepted in the university of Beijing in China. Canada (to stand for election, with some restrictions/conditions). Women are also given the right to vote in the United States
  • 1921: Belgium (to stand for election). Full equal rights for married women in Sweden.
  • 1922: Belgium and Japan: women are allowed to be lawyers.
  • 1926: Women of Turkey are granted legal majority, are admitted to the universities, and the harems and the veil are abolished.
  • 1927: Legal majority for married women in Mexico.
  • 1931-36 Women in Iran are allowed to study and the veil is abolished.
  • 1934: Turkey (to stand for election)
  • 1937: Puerto Rico (to stand for election). Contraception are allowed in Sweden.
  • 1938: Birth-control allowed in Sweden.
  • 1939: Sweden: It becomes forbidden to fire a woman for marrying or having children.
  • 1945: 'British Guiana'-Guyana (to stand for election)
  • 1946: 'Burma'-Myanmar (to stand for election)
  • 1953: Mexico (to stand for election)
  • 1958: Women allowed to become priests in Sweden.
  • 1960: Canada (to stand for election, with no restrictions/conditions)
  • 1961: El Salvador (to stand for election)
  • 1963: Papua New Guinea (to stand for election)
  • 1970: Democratic Republic of the Congo (to stand for election)
  • 1973: Andorra, San Marino (to stand for election)
  • 1975: The right to abortion is secured in Sweden, South Africa and USA.
  • 1978: 'Rhodesia'-Zimbabwe (to stand for election)
  • 1986: Djibouti (to stand for election)

See also


  1. ^ John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path p. 79
  2. ^ Majid Khadduri, Marriage in Islamic Law: The Modernist Viewpoints, American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 213-218
  3. ^ Encyclopedia of religion, second edition, Lindsay Jones, p.6224, ISBN 0-02-865742-X


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