Chronography of women�s entry to selected roles and careers

Page last modified 19/8/2022


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Law enforcement (Judiciiary, police)


Military and Inteligence


Political office


Space travel



17/9/1991, Women were admitted to the �Magic Circle� magician�s association.

28/4/1988, Sian Edwards, 28, became the first woman to conduct at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

3/1984, Brenda Dean was elected by the 250,000 members of SOGAT to head the trades UNION. She was the first woman to lead a major trades union.

1982, First UK woman firefighter.

6/10/1978, The first woman train driver on the London Underground began work.

21/8/1976. Mary Langdon, aged 25, joined the East Sussex Fire Brigade, becoming Britain�s first female firefighter.

26/3/1973. Women were allowed on the floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time. Mrs Susan Shaw stepped onto the floor, the first woman in the 171-year history of the Stock Exchange.

5/4/1971, Mrs Fran Phipps became the first woman to reach the North Pole.

10/12/1964, Dorothy Hodgkin became the first British woman to win a Nobel Prize. She researched the structure of proteins such as insulin.

1958, Hilda Harding became Britain�s first female bank manager.

1951, John Lewis appointed its first female Director, Miss MJ Ahern.

17/9/1940. The first women workers on the London Underground began work, as ticket collectors and porters.

1923, In Britain, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) elected its first woman Chairman of the General Council, Miss Margaret Bondfield.

13/2/1917, Britain introduced new regulations to allow women to be taxi drivers.

20/10/1915, UK Prime Minister Lloyd George allowed women to step into many male employment roles, three months after 30,000 women marched down Whitehall demanding �The right to serve�. Trades Unions were concerned in case the move depressed wages.

12/1910, In Britain, the first woman had qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and another as a Banker.

10/12/1905, Austrian pacifist and writer Bertha von Suttner became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

7/10/1904, Isabella Bird Bishop, the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Geographical Society of London, died today aged 73. A sickly child, the family doctor advised her to travel and she did, widely, firstly to the western USA. Her last trip aboard was to Morocco in 1901. She established missionary hospitals in India and China.

1/9/1878, Emma Nutt became the first woman to work as a telephone operator, on the exchange at Boston, Massachusetts.

8/12/1660, The first (unnamed) actress appeared on the English stage.

1317, France adopted the Salic Law, excluding women from the throne.



25/3/1992, Barbara Harmer, 39, became the first woman pilot of Concorde.

18/5/1953, Jacqueline Cochrane, piloting a US F-86 Sabre plane, became the first woman to fly faster than sound.

5/1/1941. Amy Johnson disappeared, presumed drowned, in a mysterious flying accident on a routine flight over the Thames estuary. She was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

31/12/1934, Helen Richey became the first woman airline pilot in the USA. She flew Central Airline�s Washington DC to Detroit flight.

21/5/1932. Amelia Erhart became the first woman to make a solo air crossing of the Atlantic. She flew from Harbor Grace in Newfoundland to Londonderry in Ireland in just under 15 hours.

18/6/1928. American aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic. She and her two male companions landed safely in Wales.

21/6/1913, Georgia Bradwick, in Los Angeles USA, became the first woman to make a parachute jump.

16/4/1912, The Channel was first flown by a woman, Harriet Quimby.

8/3/1910. The French Baroness de Laroche became the first woman pilot.

22/10/1906, Elise Deroche became the first woman to fly solo.



11/10/1988, Women were allowed to study for the first time at Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK. Male students wore black armbands and the porter flew a black flag.

8/12/1920 Cambridge University refused to admit women to full-time studentships.

7/10/1920, Oxford University admitted its first 100 women, to study for full degrees.They had been permitted to sit Oxford examinations before this day.

11/5/1920. Oxford University agreed to start awarding degrees to women.

11/3/1921, Queen Mary became the first woman to be awarded an Oxford Degree.

1916, Women were first admitted to university in Turkey.

1908, German universities began admitting women.

9/3/1900. German women petitioned the Reichstag for the right to attend university.

29/4/1885, Oxford University allowed women to sit its examinations.

17/11/1880, The first three female graduates from London University received their degrees.

15/1/1878, London University awarded degrees to women for the first time.

16/10/1869, Girton College, the oldest women�s college in Cambridge, was opened.

28/9/1865. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was admitted to the register as the first qualified woman surgeon and physician in Britain.

1854, Cheltenham Ladies College was founded.

1848, Women were first admitted to London University.

25/8/1841, Three women from Oberlin Collegiate Institute, Ohio, became the first women in the USA to be awarded degrees.

30/10/1838. Oberlin College, in Ohio, became the first higher education establishment to admit women on an equal basis with men.

1754, In Germany, the University of Halle awarded the first medical degree attained by a woman.


Law enforcement

25/11/2015, The first Asian woman to become a High Court Judge in Britain, Mrs Cheena-Grubb, 49, from Derby, was sworn in. There were now 22 female High Court Judges, compared with just 10 in 2005.

8/12/2005, Dame Rose Heilbron, first woman to sit as a Judge at the Old Bailey, died (born 19/8/1914)

4/3/1983, Bertha Wilson was appointed the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada.

25/9/1981, Sandra Day O�Connor became the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court.

4/1/1972. Rose Heilbron became Britain�s first woman judge at the Old Bailey.

30/9/1965, Elizabeth Lane was sown in as Britain�s first female High Court Judge.

8/10/1962, Judge Elizabeth Lane became the first female judge to sit in the High Court.

27/3/1961. The first women traffic wardens began ticketing, in Leicester.

5/12/1956, Rose Heilbron became Britain�s first female judge. She sat in Burnley, Lancashire.

1945, Charity Taylor became the first UK woman Prison Governor when she took over at Holloway.

10/5/1922. Dr Ivy Williams became the first woman to be called to the English Bar.

9/7/1925, In Dublin, Oonagh Keogh, 22, became the first female member of a stock exchange.

25/5/1921. Miss Olive Clapham qualified as Britain�s first woman barrister.

25/1/1921, Six women were sworn in as jurors in a divorce trial, the first women to serve in this type of case.

7/1/1921. The first woman was elected as foreman of a jury in Britain. This was in Dudley, Birmingham.

30/12/1919, In London, the first female bar student was admitted to Lincoln�s Inn.

22/11/1918, In London, 100 women police officers went on street patrol for the first time.

1916, Women magistrates were first appointed in Canada,

1915, Women magistrates were first appointed in Australia.

27/11/1914, Britain�s first policewoman went on duty, on completion of her training, in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

26/5/1913. Miss Emily Duncan became Britain�s first woman magistrate. She was appointed a Justice of the Peace in West Ham, London.

12/9/1910. The world�s first policewoman, Alice Stebbins Wells, formerly a social worker, joined the Los Angeles Police.

2/4/1902, Esther Hobart Morris, 89, the first woman to serve as a justice of the peace in the USA (born 1812), died. She was appointed to the post in Sweetwater County, Wyoming after her predecessor resigned to protest the territory's adoption of the women's suffrage amendment.

14/11/1900, France approved the admission of women to practice at the Bar.



17/12/1917. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Britain�s first woman doctor, died.

14/12/1911. Miss Eleanor Davies Colley, MB London, became the first woman to be admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons.

31/5/1910. Elizabeth Blackwell, English-born American doctor, the first woman to gain an MD degree in 1849, from Geneva College, New York State, died. Despite hostility during her education and career, she succeeded in opening up the field of medicine to women. She retired to Hastings, UK, where she died.

15/10/1908, The Royal College of Surgeons decided to allow women to obtain the Licence in Dental Surgery.

1876, British medical colleges opened to women.

1872, London School of Medicine for Women opened.

23/1/1849. English-born Elizabeth Blackwell graduated from a New York medical school to become the first female doctor.

9/6/1836, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, physician who had to study privately because of her sex, and then did much to facilitate women�s entry into the medical profession, was born.

3/2/1821, Elizabeth Blackwell, first English woman doctor, was born.


Military and Intelligence

16/12/1991. In London, Stella Rimington became the first female to head MI5, and the first director-general to be publically named.

17/9/1976. The first female cadets were admitted to Dartmouth Naval College, UK.

11/6/1970, Annie Mae Hays and Elizabeth P Hoisington became the first female US Army Generals.

3/12/1948, Colonel Mary Agnes Hallaren became the first female officer in the US Army.

6/8/1925, Loretta Perfectus Walsh, first active-duty woman to serve in the United States Navy, died aged 29 of tuberculosis.

8/1/1918, Recruiting began in Britain for the WRNS; the Women�s Royal Naval Service.

28/3/1917. The first women�s service unit, the Women�s Army Auxiliary Corps, was formed.

27/6/1916,King George V confirmed that women were eligible to receive the Military Medal.



13/2/1978. In the UK, Anna Ford became ITN�s first woman newscaster. See 1/1948.

22/6/1960. Nan Winton became the first woman to read the national news on BBC television.

1/1948, The BBC stated that all 8 of its newsreaders would be men because �people do not like momentous events such as war and disaster to be read by the female voice�. In 1976 Angela Rippon became the first woman newsreader on BBC TV. See 13/2/1978.

31/8/1936. Elizabeth Cowell, Britain�s first woman TV announcer, made her debut at Alexandra Palace.

18/5/1936, Jasmine Bligh and Elizabeth Cowell became the BBC�s first women announcers.

28/8/1933, The first female BBC woman announcer, Sheila Borrett, began work.


Political Office

4/1/2007, Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as first female speaker of the US House of Representatives.

22/1/1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female US Secretary of State after confirmation of her appointment by the US Senate.

13/6/1993. Tansu Ciller became Turkey�s first woman president.

27/4/1992, Betty Boothroyd became the first woman Speaker in the House of Commons.

16/5/1991, Edith Cresson, aged 57, became France�s first woman Prime Minister.

11/1990, Mary Robinson, campaigner for women�s rights and pro-contraception, became the first female President of the Republic of Ireland.

12/2/1990, Dr Carmen Lawrence became Premiere of Western Australia, the first woman Premiere of an Australian State.

11/1988, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan became the first woman elected to lead an Islamic country.

6/1987, In the British General Election, in which the UK�s first female Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, won a record 3rd term, there were now a record 41 women MPs.But this was still just 6% of total MPs.

12/7/1984, In the USA, G Ferraro became the first woman to run for Vice President.

7/1984, In the USA, as women became influential within the Democratic Party, Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. She was the first woman to be appointed to this position.

12/11/1983, The Lord Mayor�s show in London featured the first woman Mayor, Dame Mary Donaldson. She had been appointed in May 1983, the first woman Mayor since the Office was created in 1192.

1981, In Britain the House of Lords got its first woman leader, Baroness Young.

1/2/1981, Norway elected its first woman Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland.

6/1980, Vigdis Finnbogadottir became Iceland�s first woman President.

1/8/1979, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was installed as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the first woman to hold this office.

7/1979, Portugal elected its first woman Prime Minister, Maria Pintassilgo.

5/1979, Mrs Thatcher became Brtiain�s first woman Prime Minister.

4/12/1978, Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco�s first woman mayor, following the murder of mayor George Moscone. She served until 8/1/1988.

2/5/1964, Nancy, Lady Astor, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons in 1919, died aged 84.

21/7/1960. Sirimavo Bandarainake became the world�s first woman Prime Minister, of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). This followed the assassination of her husband, Solomon, the former Prime Minister.

21/10/1958, Women took seats in the UK House of Lords for the first time.

30/10/1957, Women entered the House of Lords for the first time, as a new category of �life peers� was created. Previously, only male bearers of hereditary titles could become peers.

26/8/1935, Geraldine A Ferraro, first woman to be nominated for Vice Presidency of the US (with Walter Mondale, Democrats, in 1984) was born.

10/6/1929. Margaret Bondfield became the first British woman Cabinet Minister when she was appointed Minister of Labour.

5/1/1925. Mrs Nellie Taylor Ross became governor of Wyoming, the first woman Governor in the USA. This followed the death of her husband.

1924, Denmark became the first country to appoint a woman to the Cabinet. Nina Bang became Minister for Education, until 1928.

4/11/1924. Texas elected its first woman state governor.

7/10/1922, The first woman senator was sworn in in the USA.

24/2/1920. Viscountess Lady Astor became the first woman to speak in the British Parliament. Her husband, Conservative MP Waldorf Astor, succeeded her father as Viscount Astor in 1932 and moved to the House of Lords; she won his seat in a by-election 2 months ago. This day she spoke in opposition to a move to abolish the Liquor Control Board.

1919, Women were allowed to work as government clerks in France.

28/11/1919. Viscountess (Nancy) Astor became Britain�s first woman MP. She took her seat in the House of Commons on 1/12/1919, elected by a substantial majority. She won the seat of Plymouth Sutton in a by-election caused by the elevation of her husband to the peerage. She retired from Parliament in 1945. However see 28/12/1918.

28/12/1918, Constance Markievicz, became, technically, the first woman MP in the British and Irish Parliament. This day she was elected MP for Dublin St Patricks consitutuency, as a SinnFein MP. However Sinn Fein has a policy of sbataining from the British Parliament, so she never took her seat. See 28/11/1919.

23/10/1918, The House of Commons voted to allow women MPs, by a margin of 274 to 25 votes.

7/11/1916. Janet Rankin became the first woman member of the US Congress.

17/3/1911. In Norway, Anna Rogstadt took her place as the country�s first woman MP.

9/11/1908. Britain�s first woman Mayor, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, was elected, at Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

1907, In Britain, women could now become councillors.

25/5/1907. In Finland, the world�s first Parliament with women members opened.

15/3/1907. The Finns elected their first woman MP; in Britain, women still had not got the vote.

4/4/1887, Susanna Salter became the world�s first woman mayor. She was elected at Argona, Kansas.

19/5/1879, Lady Astor, first woman to sit in the House of Lords, was born.

4/2/1868, Birth of Constance Markievicz, Irish Republican and first woman elected to the UK House of Commons.



25/9/1988, In the USA, Barbara Harris, a divorcee, was elected first woman bishop in the Anglican Church, to serve as Bishop of Massachusetts (inaugurated 11/2/1989).

3/6/1972, In Cincinnati, Sally Priesand was inaugurated as the first woman rabbi.

5/11/1921, Reverend Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first woman ordained as a pastor, was born.

1919, In Britain the Sex Disqualification Removal Act opened all professions to women except the Church.


Space Travel

3/2/1995, Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins became the first female space shuttle pilot, as Discovery took off from Cape Kennedy, Florida,

11/10/1984, Kathryn D Sullivan became the first woman to walk in space, from the Space Shuttle Challenger.

29/7/1984, Svetlana Savitskaya, first woman to walk in space, returned to earth, from the Salyut-7 space station.

18/6/1983, Sally Ride became the first woman in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, with four male satronauts.



5/6/1988, Kay Cottee sailed into Sydney harbour, the first woman to sail solo round the world non-stop.

4/4/1981. Oxford won the boat race with the first ever lady cox, Sue Brown.

1977, In Britain, the Jockey Club accepted women members for the first time since it was founded in 1751 It�s all �male culture had previously persisted despite having the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Mother.

18/5/1975, Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

28/7/1966, Florence Nagle, 70,became the first woman racecourse trainer.

28/12/1934, First women�s cricket test match held,in Australia.

19/7/1930, Miss EM Foster became the first woman to win the King�s Prize (National Rifle Association, Bisley).

3/10/1926, At Chiswick, London, Violet Percy became the first woman to run a marathon. She took 3 hours 40 minutes.

6/8/1926, American Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel. It took her 14 hours 30 minutes to complete the crossing.

9/5/1908, The first motor race for women was held at Brooklands.

14/5/1900. Second Olympic Games began in Paris. Women were now allowed to compete. They had been barred in 1896.

13/6/1893, The first women�s golf championship was held, at Britain�s Royal Lytham course.

3/10/1811, The first women�s county cricket match, Hampshire vs. Surrey, was played at Newington.

9/1/1811, The first women�s golf tournament took place, in Scotland.

25/8/1804, Alicia Meynell became the first known female horse jockey.

26/7/1745. The first recorded women�s cricket match took place at Gosden Common near Guildford. Hambledon Village played nearby Bramley.


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