Timeline of Women’s Achievements in History

Timeline of Women’s Achievements in History

Celebrate the brave women that fought for equal rights in history.


This photo, courtesy of the Library of Congress, shows Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after her arrest. 
1778: Deborah Sampson disguises herself as a man and fights in the American Revolution

1843: Former slave Isabelle Baumtree changes her name to Sojourner Truth and begins lecturing about suffrage and abolition

1848: The Seneca Falls Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, approves the Declaration of Sentiments focusing on women’s rights

1849: Elizabeth Blackwell is the first US woman to earn a medical degree

1850: Oregon’s Donation Land Claim law grants married women the right to own land

1854: Florence Nightingale introduces nursing innovations in Britain; Susan B. Anthony begins her crusade for American women’s rights

1881: Clara Barton establishes the American Red Cross

1889: Journalist Nellie Bly, whose real name was Elizabeth Cochrane, leaves New York on a 24,899-mile journey around the world

This photo of Nellie Bly from the Library of Congress notes her real name, Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman.

1890: Wyoming is the first state to allow women to vote

1892: Annie Moore from Ireland is the first immigrant to arrive through Ellis Island

1900: Women first participate in modern Olympics in three events: golf, tennis and yachting

1901: Army Nurse Corps opens the door for women to serve in the US military

1903: Marie Curie wins the Nobel Prize for physics for her work with radioactivity

This photo of Madame Marie Curie from the Library of Congress shows the prizewinner. 

1905: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt marries her fifth cousin once removed Franklin Delano Roosevelt in New York City

1916: Manitoba is the first Canadian province to allow women to vote in provincial elections

1920: The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution grants women the right to vote in federal elections

1955: Seamstress Rosa Parks becomes a civil rights pioneer after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala.

1966: Betty Goldstein Friedan founds the National Organization for Women (NOW)

1972: American journalist Gloria Steinem helps launch Ms. Magazine

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed first female justice of the US Supreme Court

1984: Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman vice-presidential nominee of a major US political party

1997: Czech-born American diplomat Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State

1999: Col. Eileen Collins is the first woman to command a space shuttle

2005: Danica Patrick finishes fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the best finish ever for a woman in the race’s history

2007: Californian Nancy Pelosi is the first woman to serve as speaker of the US House of Representatives, making her the highest-ranking woman in US government history