Timeline of women's education

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Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1886: Anandibai Joshee from India (left) with Kei Okami from Japan (center) and Sabat Islambooly from Syria (right). All three completed their medical studies and each of them was the first woman from their respective countries to obtain a degree in Western medicine. Anandibai Joshee, Kei Okami, and Tabat M. Islambooly.jpg
Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1886: Anandibai Joshee from India (left) with Kei Okami from Japan (center) and Sabat Islambooly from Syria (right). All three completed their medical studies and each of them was the first woman from their respective countries to obtain a degree in Western medicine.

The Timeline of women's education is an overview of the history of education for women worldwide. It includes key individuals, institutions, law reforms, and events that have contributed to the development and expansion of educational opportunities for women.

Contents

The timeline highlights early instances of women's education, such as the establishment of girls' schools and women's colleges, as well as legal reforms like compulsory education laws that have had a significant impact on women's access to education.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw significant growth in the establishment of girls' schools and women's colleges, particularly in Europe and North America. Legal reforms began to play a crucial role in shaping women's education, with laws being passed in many countries to make education accessible and compulsory for girls.

The 20th century marked a period of rapid advancement in women's education. Coeducation became more widespread, and women began to enter fields of study that were previously reserved for men. Legislative measures, such as Title IX in the United States, were enacted to ensure equality in educational opportunities.

The timeline also reflects social movements and cultural shifts that have affected women's education, such as the women's suffrage movement, which contributed to the broader fight for women's rights, including education.

Various international organizations and initiatives have been instrumental in promoting women's education in developing countries, recognizing the role of education in empowering women and promoting social and economic development.

This timeline illustrates how women's education has evolved and reflects broader societal changes in gender roles and equality.

BCE

Sumerian clay tablet with the cuneiform inscription of Inanna and Ebih by Enheduanna Tablet describing goddess Inanna's battle with the mountain Ebih, Sumerian - Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago - DSC07117.JPG
Sumerian clay tablet with the cuneiform inscription of Inanna and Ebih by Enheduanna
Spartan bronze figure of a running girl, wearing a single-shouldered chiton (British Museum). Spartan running girl.jpg
Spartan bronze figure of a running girl, wearing a single-shouldered chiton (British Museum).
YearLocationMilestoneRef.
c. 2500Ancient Egypt Peseshet, known as the "Overseer of Female Physicians" [1]
c. 2285–2250Ancient Mesopotamia Enheduanna appointed as high priestess and becomes one of the earliest known authors. [2]
c. 2000Ancient EgyptEvidence of women being educated as scribes. [3]
c. 800–500Ancient India Gargi Vachaknavi participates in philosophical debates in the royal court. [4]
Maitreyi, a scholar, is involved in philosophical discussions in the Upanishads. [5]
c. 600Ancient Greece Spartan women receive physical education, which was rare in Greece. [6]
Theano actively engages in philosophical studies and writings. [7]
550–300Ancient Persia Achaemenid period records indicate that royal women were educated and some took part in administrative roles. [8]
c. 195–c. 115Ancient Rome Cornelia Africana, mother of the Gracchi brothers, educates her children and emphasizes learning. [9]
c. 100Roman women, including the poet Sulpicia, engage in literary pursuits. [10]

1–1200 CE

Pages from the illuminated scroll of the 'Tale of Genji' Late Heian period, 12th century, Japan. Originally written by Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century. Genji emaki 01003 001.jpg
Pages from the illuminated scroll of the 'Tale of Genji' Late Heian period, 12th century, Japan. Originally written by Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century.
12th-century manuscript of the Alexiad by Anna Komnene in Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence Anna comnena, alexiade, forse da costantinopoli, XII secolo (pluteo 70.2).jpg
12th-century manuscript of the Alexiad by Anna Komnene in Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence
YearLocationMilestoneRef.
c. 100 CEAncient China Ban Zhao writes "Lessons for Women," an influential text on women's education. [11]
664 CEEngland Hilda of Whitby oversees Whitby Abbey, a center of learning. [12]
700-1200 CEIslamic Golden Age (countries)A sponsorship system allows many women to study Hadith, Islamic law, and more. [13]
705 CEEngland Wimborne Minster, an Anglo-Saxon double monastery, provides education for women. [14]
c. 750 CEGermany Leoba is appointed abbess of the monastery of Tauberbischofsheim, contributing to education. [15]
859 CEMorocco Fatima al-Fihri founds the University of Al Quaraouiyine. [16]
c. 1000 CEAncient JapanWomen contribute to literature, such as Murasaki Shikibu, author of "The Tale of Genji." [17]
c. 1140 CEByzantine Empire Anna Komnene is educated in Greek literature, history, philosophy, theology, mathematics, and medicine. She contributes to literary works and writes the Alexiad. [18]
1185 CE Alsace Herrad of Landsberg compiles "Hortus Deliciarum," an educational work for women. [19]


13th to 16th centuries

Ancrene Wisse; leaf from the Book of Hours Ancrene-Wisse-cotton ms cleopatra c vi f004r.jpg
Ancrene Wisse; leaf from the Book of Hours
Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles, a girls' school founded in Toledo, Spain, in 1551. Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles - Toledo 01.jpg
Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles, a girls' school founded in Toledo, Spain, in 1551.
YearLocationMilestoneRef.
Early to mid-13th century Northern Europe Beguine communities begin to flourish, providing informal religious education for women. [20]
c. 1225England"Ancrene Wisse," a manual for anchoresses, is written, reflecting the religious education available to some women. [21]
1237Italy Bettisia Gozzadini earns a law degree at the University of Bologna. [22]
1239Italy Bettisia Gozzadini teaches law at the University of Bologna. First woman believed to teach at a university (first university established in 1088). [22]
c. 1250Germany Mechthild of Magdeburg, a Beguine, writes "The Flowing Light of the Godhead," a significant piece of Christian mysticism. [23]
1390 onwardsItaly Dorotea Bucca holds a chair of medicine and philosophy in the University of Bologna for 40 years. [24]
Italy Novella d'Andrea teaches law at the University of Bologna. [25]
7 November 1376Italy Virdimura of Catania obtains a royal medical license to practice medicine after an examination by the doctors of the royal court. [26] [27]
fl. 1415Italy Constance Calenda may have received a medical degree from the University of Naples Federico II. [28]
c. 1500Spain Luisa de Medrano teaches at the University of Salamanca and writes works of philosophy, now lost. [29]
Isabella Losa gets a D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) theology degree. [30]
Francisca de Lebrija teaches rhetoric at the University of Alcalá. [31]
Beatriz Galindo excels in Latin, studies at one of the institutions dependent on the University of Salamanca, writes commentary on Aristotle and becomes a teacher of the queen. [32] [33]
1551Spain Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles is founded. [34]
1571SwedenThe Swedish Church Ordinance 1571 stipulates that both boys and girls should be given basic schooling such as reading, writing, counting and basic commercial skills. [35] [36]

17th century

Representation of the official visit of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon at the newly founded Maison royale de Saint-Louis of Saint Cyr, 1690 ca. Visit of Louis XIV at Saint Cyr.jpg
Representation of the official visit of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon at the newly founded Maison royale de Saint-Louis of Saint Cyr, 1690 ca.
YearLocationMilestoneRef.
c. 1600Modern-day NigeriaQueen Amina of Zazzau receives military training and education. [37]
1608Spain Juliana Morell "defended theses" in 1606 or 1607 in Lyon or maybe Avignon, although claims that she received a doctorate in canon law in 1608 have been discredited. According to Lope de Vega, she taught "all the sciences from professorial chairs". [38] [39] [40]
1636NetherlandsGerman-born Dutch Anna Maria van Schurman, proficient in 14 languages, studies as the first female student at Utrecht University, Netherlands, but without obtaining a degree. [41]
1639 Acadia The French colony of Acadia, which at the time included part of Maine, had an Ursuline boarding school by 1639 that was geared toward the education of young girls. The school was founded in Quebec City and is still in operation today. [42]
1644SwedenFirst female college students, Ursula Agricola and Maria Jonae Palmgren. [43]
1674New SpainIn this year, Bishop Calderon of Santiago wrote to Queen Mother Maria Anna concerning the Spanish efforts at colonizing Florida. In his letter he included some comments about the state of education and stated, "The children, both male and female, go to church on work days, to a religious school where they are taught by a teacher whom they call Athequi of the church; [a person] whom the priests have for this service." This description indicates that the colonies of New Spain had facilities for female education at least by the 1600s. It is not clear how far back this goes; the 1512 laws of Burgos, from over a hundred years earlier, did not specify whether instruction should be for males only: it uses the word hijos, which means sons, but can include daughters if they are mixed in with the boys. [44]
1678Italy Elena Cornaro Piscopia, an Italian woman, earns a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) degree from the University of Padua in Italy and is said to have taught mathematics at the University of Padua. [39] [45] [46] [47]
1684FranceThe Maison royale de Saint-Louis is founded. [48]
1685Italy Rosa Venerini opens the first free school for girls in Italy, in the town of Viterbe. [49]
1698GermanyThe first secular secondary education girls' school in Germany is established by the Pietist August Hermann Francke in Halle, and becomes a pioneer institution for a number of girls' schools in Germany during the 18th century. [50]

18th century

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1727United StatesFounded in 1727 by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula, Ursuline Academy, New Orleans, is both the oldest continuously operating school for girls and the oldest Catholic school in the United States. The Ursuline Sisters founded this school out of the conviction that the education of women was essential to the development of a civilized, spiritual and just society, and has influenced culture and learning in New Orleans by providing an education for its women. [51]
1732Italy Laura Bassi, an Italian woman, earns a Ph.D. degree at the University of Bologna in Italy, and teaches physics at the same university. She was the first woman to have a doctorate in science. Working at the University of Bologna, she was also the first salaried woman teacher in a university, and at one time she was the highest paid employee. She was also the first woman member of any scientific establishment, when she was elected to the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna in 1732. [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59]
1742United StatesAt only 16 years of age, Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf establishes the first all-girls boarding school in America, sponsored by her father Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. Originally known as the Bethlehem Female Seminary upon its 1742 founding, it changed its name to Moravian Seminary and College for Women by 1913. 1863 proved the Germantown, Pennsylvania-based school's most landmark year, however, when the state recognized it as a college and granted it permission to award bachelor's degrees. As a result, most tend to accept Moravian as the oldest—though not continuously operational because of its current co-ed status—specifically female institute of higher learning in the United States. [60]
1751Italy Cristina Roccati becomes the third woman to receive a Ph.D. degree in Italy. [61]
1764RussiaFoundation of the Smolny Institute. [62]
1765Foundation of the Novodevichii Institute. [63]
1783United States Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, appoints the first women instructors at any American college or university, Elizabeth Callister Peale and Sarah Callister, members of the famous Peale family of artists. They teach painting and drawing. [64]
1786Russia Catherine the Great opens free public primary and high school education to girls. [65]
1787Germany Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer becomes the first German woman to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen. [66]
Sweden Societetsskolan is founded. [67]
Denmark J. Cl. Todes Døtreskole is founded. [68]
1788Sweden Aurora Liljenroth becomes the first female college graduate. [69]
1791DenmarkOne of the first schools of any note for girls is established as Døtreskolen af 1791. [70]

19th century

1800–1849

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1803United States Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts, was the first higher educational institution to admit women in Massachusetts. It was founded as a co-educational institution, but became exclusively for women in 1836. [71]
1818IndiaWestern Christian missionaries open the first western-style charter schools in India open to girls. [72]
1822SerbiaGirls are allowed to attend elementary schools with boys up until the fourth grade. [73]
1823ArgentinaThe Sociedad de Beneficencia de Buenos Aires is charged by the government to establish and control (private) elementary schools for girls, retaining control of the schools for girls until 1876. [74]
1826United StatesThe first American public high schools for girls are opened in New York and Boston. [75]
1827BrazilThe first elementary schools for girls are opened and the profession of school teacher is established. [76]
1829United StatesThe first public examination of an American girl in geometry is held. [77]
1830sEgyptChristian missionaries are allowed to open elementary schools for girls. [78]
1831United StatesAs a private institution in 1831, Mississippi College becomes the first coeducational college in the United States to grant a degree to a woman. In December 1831 it grants degrees to two women, Alice Robinson and Catherine Hall. [79]
1834GreecePrimary education becomes compulsory for both boys and girls, in parallel with the foundation of the first private secondary educational schools for girls, such as the Arsakeio. [80]
IranThe Fiske Seminary, first school for girls, is opened in Urmia. [81]
1836United States Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts, due to declining enrollment, becomes a single-sexed institution for the education of women exclusively. [71]
1837 Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, opens as Mount Holyoke Seminary. Founded by Mary Lyons, it becomes one of the first institutions of higher learning for women in the United States. [82]
1839Established in 1836, Georgia Female College in Macon, Georgia, opens its doors to students on January 7, 1839. Now known as Wesleyan College, it is the first college in the world chartered specifically to grant bachelor's degrees to women. [83]
1840sDenmarkIn the 1840s, schools for girls spread outside the capital and a net of secondary education girl schools is established in Denmark. [70]
1841BulgariaThe first secular girls school make education and the profession of teacher available for women. [84]
1842SwedenCompulsory elementary school for both sexes is introduced. [85]
Singapore Maria Dyer founds the oldest girls' school in Singapore. Initially known as the "Chinese Girls' School", it is now called St. Margaret's Secondary School). [86]
1843Ghana Catherine Mulgrave arrives on the Gold Coast from Jamaica and subsequently establishes three boarding schools for girls at Osu (1843), Abokobi (1855) and Odumase (1859) between 1843 and 1891. [87]
1844FinlandThe Svenska fruntimmersskolan i Åbo and its sister school Svenska fruntimmersskolan i Helsingfors are founded in Helsinki. [88]
1846DenmarkThe first college for women in Denmark, the teachers seminary Den højere Dannelsesanstalt for Damer, is opened in 1846. [70]
1847Costa RicaThe first high school for girls, and the profession of teacher, are opened to women. [89]
Ghana Rosina Widmann opens a vocational school for girls in January 1847, with the first classes in needlework for 12 girls at her home in Akropong in the Gold Coast colony. [90] [91] [92] [93]
1848IndiaThe elementary school for girls, Bhide Wada, in Pune is opened by Savitribai Phule and her husband. [94]
1849United States Elizabeth Blackwell, born in England, becomes the first woman to earn a medical degree from an American college, Geneva Medical College in New York. [95]
United Kingdom Bedford College opens in London as the first higher education college for women in the United Kingdom. It later merges with Royal Holloway College, to form Royal Holloway, University of London. [96]
IndiaSecondary education for girls is made available with the foundation of the Bethune College. [97]

1850–1874

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1850United States Lucy Stanton earns a literary degree from Oberlin College, becoming the first Black woman in the United States to receive a college degree. [98]
FranceElementary education is established for both sexes, but girls are only allowed to be tutored by teachers from the church. [99]
United Kingdom North London Collegiate School, the first school in England to offer girls the same educational opportunities as boys, opens. [100]
HaitiFirst permanent school for girls, the Institution Mont-Carmel, is founded by Marie-Rose Léodille Delaunay. [101] [102]
1851Ghana Regina Hesse moves into the household of her mentor, Catherine Mulgrave and her spouse, Johannes Zimmermann to understudy the methods of pedagogy. [87] She later became the de facto principal of Mulgrave's girls' school at Christiansborg. [87]
1852Nicaragua Josefa Vega is granted dispensation to attend lectures at university, after which women are given the right to apply for permission to attend lectures at university (though not to an actual full university education). [103]
1853EgyptThe first Egyptian school for females is opened by Copts. [78]
SerbiaThe first secondary educational school for females is inaugurated (public schools for girls having opened in 1845–46). [80]
SwedenThe profession of teacher at public primary and elementary schools is opened to both sexes. [104]
1854ChileThe first public elementary school for girls is opened. [84]
1855United States University of Iowa becomes the first coeducational public or state university in the United States. [105]
1857NetherlandsElementary education is made compulsory for both girls and boys. [106]
SpainElementary education is made compulsory for both girls and boys. [107]
1858United States Mary Fellows becomes the first woman west of the Mississippi River to receive a baccalaureate degree. [108]
Ottoman EmpireThe first state school for girls is opened; several other schools for girls are opened during the following decades. [109]
Russia Gymnasium high schools are opened for girls. [65]
1859DenmarkThe post of teacher at public schools is opened to women. [110]
Ghana Rose Ann Miller starts an all-girls' boarding school at Aburi under the auspices of the Basel Mission. [87]
SwedenThe post of college teacher and lower official at public institutions are open to women. [111]
1860NorwayWomen are allowed to teach in the rural elementary school system (in the city schools in 1869). [112]
1861SwedenThe first public institution of higher academic learning for women, the Royal Seminary, is opened. [113]
1862United States Mary Jane Patterson becomes the first African-American woman to earn a BA in 1862. She earned her degree from Oberlin College. [60]
Canada Mount Allison University opens to women. [114]
1863SerbiaInauguration of the Women's High School in Belgrade, first high school open to women in Serbia (and the entire Balkans). [80]
United States Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi graduates from the New York College of Pharmacy in 1863, making her the first woman to graduate from a United States school of pharmacy. [115] [116]
1864BelgiumThe first official secondary education school opens to girls in Belgium. [117]
HaitiElementary schools for girls are founded. [101]
United States Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first African-American woman to graduate from a U.S. college with a medical degree, and the first and only Black woman to obtain the Doctress of Medicine degree from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. [98]
1865RomaniaThe educational reform grants all Romanians access to education. At least formally, this gave females the right to attend school from elementary education to the university. [118]
1866United States Sarah Jane Woodson Early becomes the first African-American woman to serve as a professor. Xenia, Ohio's Wilberforce University hired her to teach Latin and English in 1866. [60]
Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first American woman to earn a dental degree (from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery). [119] [120]
SwedenThe Girls' School Committee of 1866 is established. [121]
1867Switzerland University of Zurich formally opens to women, though they had already been allowed to attend lectures for a few years. [122]
1868CroatiaThe first high school opens to girls. [123]
1869United States Fanny Jackson Coppin is named principal of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, becoming the first Black woman to head an institution for higher learning in the United States. [98]
Austria-HungaryThe profession of public school teacher is open to women. [99]
Costa RicaElementary education is made compulsory for both girls and boys. [89]
Ottoman EmpireCompulsory elementary education is formally introduced for both boys and girls. [109]
RussiaUniversity courses for women are opened, which opens the profession of teacher, law assistant and similar lower academic professions for women (in 1876, the courses are no longer allowed to give exams, and in 1883, all outside of the capital are closed). [99]
United KingdomIn Edinburgh, the Watt Institution and School of Arts, a predecessor of Heriot-Watt University, admits women. Mary Burton persuades the Watt Institution and School of Arts to open its doors to women students in 1869 and goes on to become the first woman on the school's board of directors and a life governor of Heriot-Watt College. [124]
The Edinburgh Seven are the first group of matriculated undergraduate female students at any British university. They began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869 and although they were unsuccessful in their struggle to graduate and qualify as doctors, the campaign they fought gained national attention and won them many supporters, including Charles Darwin. It put the rights of women to a university education on the national political agenda which eventually resulted in legislation to ensure that women could study at university in 1877. [125]
Girton College opens as the first residential college for women in the United Kingdom. [126]
1870United StatesThe first woman is admitted to Cornell University. [127] [128] [129]
The Board of Regents of the University of California rules that women should be admitted on an equal basis with men. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 222 female students. [130] [131]
Ada Kepley becomes the first American woman to earn a law degree, from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. [132] [133]
Ellen Swallow Richards becomes the first American woman to earn a degree in chemistry, which she earned from Vassar College in 1870. [134]
FinlandWomen are allowed to study at the universities by dispensation (dispensation requirement dropped in 1901). [135]
SpainThe Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Mujer is founded, promoting education for women; it establishes secondary schools and training colleges all over Spain, making secondary and higher education open to females for the first time. [136]
SwedenUniversities open to women (on the same terms as men in 1873). [137] [138] [139]
1871United States Frances Willard becomes the first women's college president in the United States, as president of Evanston College for Ladies in Illinois. [140] [119]
Harriette Cooke becomes the first woman college professor in the United States,omes appointed full professor with a salary equal to that of her male peers. [108]
Ottoman EmpireThe American College for Girls, initially known as The Home School, is opened in Constantinople to educate women as professional teachers for girls' schools; the profession of teacher becomes accessible for women and education accessible to girls. [141]
Netherlands Aletta Jacobs becomes the first woman to be accepted at the University of Groningen. [142]
IndiaThe first training school for women teachers is opened. [72]
JapanWomen are allowed to study in the USA (though not yet in Japan itself). [143]
New ZealandUniversities open to women. [144]
1872SwedenFirst female university student: Betty Pettersson. [138]
JapanCompulsory elementary education for both girls and boys. [145]
Ottoman EmpireThe first government primary school is opened for both genders. The Women's Teacher's Training School opens in Istanbul. [146] [147]
RussiaEstablishment of the Guerrier Courses. [148]
Spain María Elena Maseras is allowed to enlist as a university student with special dispensation. After being formally admitted to a class in 1875, she was finally allowed to graduate in 1882, creating a precedent for women to enroll at universities from this point on. [149]
1873United States Linda Richards becomes the first American woman to earn a degree in nursing. [150]
EgyptThe first public Egyptian primary school for girls is opened. Two years later, there are 32 primary schools for females in Egypt, three also offering secondary education. [78]
1874United StatesThe first woman to graduate from the University of California, Rosa L. Scrivner, obtains a Ph.B. (Bachelor of Philosophy) in Agriculture. [151]
IranThe first school for girls is founded by American missionaries (only non-Muslims attend until 1891). [152]
JapanThe profession of public school teacher is opened to women. [153]
Netherlands Aletta Jacobs becomes the first woman allowed to study medicine. [142]
United Kingdom London School of Medicine for Women is founded, becoming the first medical school in Britain to train women. [154]
GermanyRussian mathematician Sofya Kovalevskaya becomes the first woman in modern Europe to gain a doctorate in mathematics (from the University of Göttingen). [155] [156] [157]
Canada Grace Annie Lockhart becomes the first woman in the British Empire to receive a bachelor's degree, graduating from Mount Allison University in Canada. [158]

1875–1899

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1875Switzerland Stefania Wolicka, a Polish woman, becomes the first woman to earn a PhD from the University of Zurich. [159] [160]
DenmarkWomen are permitted to take the school leaving examination (studentereksamen) and study at the University of Copenhagen with certain restrictions. [137] [161]
IndiaThe first women are admitted to college courses, although with special permission (at Madras Medical College). [72]
1876ArgentinaGirls are included in the national school system by the transference of control of private girls schools from the charitable Beneficent Society to the provincial government. [74]
Great BritainMedical examining bodies are given the right to certify women. [162]
IndiaWomen are allowed to attend university exams at the Calcutta University. [72]
ItalyUniversities open to women. [163]
NetherlandsUniversities open to women. [163]
United Kingdom University College, Bristol (now the University of Bristol) opens as the first co-educational university college in England. [164] [165]
United States Elizabeth Bragg becomes the first female to graduate with an engineering degree in the U.S. (in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley). [166]
Anna Oliver becomes the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Divinity degree from an American seminary: Boston University School of Theology. [167]
1877United States Helen Magill White becomes the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. (earned in Greek at Boston University). [119] [168] [169] [170]
ChileUniversities open to women. [84] [171]
New Zealand Kate Edger becomes the first woman to graduate from a university in New Zealand. [172]
1878Austria-HungaryWomen are allowed to attend university lectures as guest auditors. [173]
BulgariaElementary education is introduced for both genders. [174]
RussiaThe Bestuzhev Courses open in Saint Petersburg. [175]
United States Mary L. Page becomes the first American woman to earn a degree in architecture (at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign). [176] [177]
United Kingdom Lady Margaret Hall, the first college at the University of Oxford to admit women, is founded. [178]
The University of London receives a supplemental charter allowing it to award degrees to women, the first university in the United Kingdom to open its degrees. [179]
1879United Kingdom Royal Holloway College, a women-only college, is founded by the Victorian entrepreneur Thomas Holloway on the Mount Lee Estate in Egham. It later merged with Bedford College to become Royal Holloway, University of London. [180]
United States Mary Eliza Mahoney becomes the first African-American in the U.S. to earn a diploma in nursing (from the School of Nursing at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston). [98]
BrazilUniversities open to women. [76]
FranceColleges and secondary education open to women. [99]
IndiaThe first college open to women: Bethune College (the first female graduate in 1883). [72]
1880United KingdomFirst four women gain BA degrees at the University of London, the first women in the UK to be awarded degrees. [179]
AustraliaUniversities open to women. [181]
BelgiumThe University of Brussels is opened to women. [163]
FranceUniversities open to women. [99]
Free public secondary education to women. [182]
Public teachers training schools open to women. [182]
1881United KingdomWomen are allowed to take the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos exams, following Charlotte Scott's unofficial ranking as eighth wrangler. [183]
United States American Association of University Women is founded. [184]
1882United KingdomCollege Hall opens as a hall of residence for women students in London, primarily for students at University College London and the London School of Medicine for Women, becoming an official University of London student hall in 2010. [185]
FranceCompulsory elementary education for both genders. [186]
NorwayWomen allowed to study at the university. [80]
NicaraguaThe first public secular education institution for women, Colegio de Señoritas, opens. [187]
PolandThe Flying University provides academic education for women. [188]
SerbiaCompulsory education for both genders. [73]
BelgiumUniversities open to women. [163]
IndiaBombay University open to women. [72]
RomaniaUniversities open to women. [189]
1883Australia Bella Guerin becomes the first woman to graduate from a university in Australia (from the University of Melbourne). [190]
Sweden Ellen Fries, a historian, becomes the first Swedish woman to obtain her Ph.D. (from Uppsala University) [191] [192]
United States Susan Hayhurst becomes the first woman to receive a pharmacy degree in the United States (from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia). [193] [194] [195] [196]
United Kingdom Sophie Bryant becomes the first woman in Britain to earn a D.Sc. (Doctor of Science). [197]
1885Sierra Leone Adelaide Casely-Hayford becomes the first African woman to study music at the Stuttgart Conservatory. [198]
1886United States Winifred Edgerton Merrill becomes the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics (from Columbia University). [199]
Anandibai Joshi from India, Kei Okami from Japan, and Sabat Islambouli from Syria become the first women from their respective countries (and in Joshi's case the first Hindu woman) to get a degree in western medicine (from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania). [200] [201]
FranceWomen become eligible to join public education boards. [202]
Iulia Hasdeu becomes the first Romanian woman to study at the Sorbonne. She enrolled at age 16 and died two years later while preparing her doctoral thesis. [203]
Costa RicaA public academic educational institution open to women. [89]
Denmark N. Zahle's School in Copenhagen is founded as a private school to prepare girls to take the school leaving certificate (studentereksamen). [204]
KoreaThe first educational institution for women, Ewha Womans University, is founded. [205]
MexicoUniversities open to women. [171]
1887AlbaniaThe first Albanian language elementary school is opened for girls. [206]
1889United States Maria Louise Baldwin becomes the first African-American female principal in Massachusetts and the Northeast, supervising white faculty and a predominantly white student body at the Agassiz Grammar School in Cambridge. [98]
Susan La Flesche Picotte becomes the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree (from Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania). [207] [208]
SwedenWomen become eligible to join boards of public authority, such as public school boards. [137]
First female professor: Sofya Kovalevskaya. [209] [210]
EgyptThe first teacher training college for women. [146]
Argentina Cecilia Grierson becomes the first woman in Argentina to earn a medical university degree. [211]
PalestineThe first school open to girls is founded by missionaries. [146]
United KingdomScottish universities are opened to women under the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889. [212]
El Salvador Antonia Navarro Huezo becomes the first Salvadoran woman to earn a topographic engineering doctorate. [213]
1890United States Ida Gray becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree {from the University of Michigan]. [98] [214]
Finland Signe Hornborg graduates as an architect from the Helsinki University of Technology in Finland, becoming the first ever formally qualified female architect in the world. [215]
BohemiaThe first secondary education school opens for girls in Prague. [117]
GreeceUniversities open to women. [135]
1891AlbaniaThe first school of higher education for women is opened. It was founded by siblings Sevasti and Gjerasim Qiriazi. [216]
GermanyWomen are allowed to attend university lectures, making it possible for individual professors to accept female students if they wish. [173]
PortugalThe first medical university degree is granted to a woman. [217]
SwitzerlandSecondary schools open to women. [122]
Ecuador Juana Miranda, an obstetrician, becomes the Republic's first female university professor; she teaches at the Central University of Ecuador's medical school. [218]
1892United States Laura Eisenhuth becomes the first woman elected to state office as Superintendent of Public Instruction. [108]
1893Ottoman EmpireWomen are permitted to attend medical lectures at Istanbul University. [146]
France Dorothea Klumpke becomes the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in sciences. [219]
1894Poland Kraków University open to women. [220]
United States Margaret Floy Washburn becomes the first American woman to be officially awarded the Ph.D. degree in psychology at Cornell University. [221]
1895Austria-HungaryUniversities open to women. [99]
EgyptA public school system for girls is organized. [146]
1896NorwayWomen are admitted to all secondary educational schools of the state. [112]
Spain María Goyri de Menéndez Pidal becomes the first Spanish woman to earn a degree in philosophy and letters with a licentiate from the University of Madrid. [222]
1897Switzerland Anita Augspurg becomes the first German woman to receive a Doctor of Law (from the University of Zurich), despite not being able to practice law in Germany until 1922. [223]
Austria-Hungary Gabriele Possanner becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree and, subsequently, the country's first practicing female doctor. [224]
1898HaitiThe Medical University accepts female students in obstetrics. [101]
SerbiaCo-education, banned since the 1850s, is re-introduced, equalizing the schooling of men and women. [73]
United Kingdom Margaret Murray becomes the first woman lecturer of archaeology in the United Kingdom. [225]
1899GermanyWomen are admitted to study medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. [226]

20th century

1900–1924

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1900EgyptA school for female teachers is founded in Cairo. [147]
United States Otelia Cromwell becomes the first Black woman to graduate from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. [98]
TunisiaThe first public elementary school for girls. [147]
JapanThe first women's university. [227]
Baden, GermanyUniversities open to women. [228]
Sri LankaSecondary education open to women. [229]
1901BulgariaUniversities open to women. [174]
CubaUniversities open to women. [171]
1902Australia Ada Evans becomes the first woman to graduate in law at the University of Sydney. [230]
1903United StatesMignon Nicholson becomes the first woman in North America to earn a veterinary degree (from McKillip Veterinary College in Chicago, Illinois). [231] [232]
Canada Clara Benson and Emma Sophia Baker become the first women to earn a PhD from the University of Toronto. [233]
DenmarkGirls permitted to attend gymnasium high school. [234]
Norway Clara Holst becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Norway (from Royal Frederick University) with a dissertation was titled Studier over middelnedertyske laaneord i dansk i det 14. og 15. aarhundrede (English: Study of Middle Low German loanwords in Danish in the 14th and 15th centuries). [235]
1904United States Helen Keller graduates from Radcliffe, becoming the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. [236]
United Kingdom Millicent Mackenzie is appointed as assistant professor of education at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (part of the University of Wales), the first woman professor in the UK. [237]
Württemberg, GermanyUniversities open to women. [228]
1905United States Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, born in England, becomes one of the first women to earn a degree in any type of engineering in the United States (in civil engineering Cornell University). [238]
ArgentinaUniversity preparatory secondary education open to women. [74]
IcelandEducational institutions open to women. [99]
RussiaUniversities open to women. [99]
SerbiaFemale university students are fully integrated in to the university system. [73]
Australia Flos Greig became the first woman to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Australia, having graduated in 1903. [230]
1906Saxony, GermanyUniversities open to women. [228]
1907ChinaGirls are included in the education system. [117]
SudanThe first school open to Muslim girls. [146]
Japan Tohoku University, the first (private) coeducational university. [239]
Italy Rina Monti is named the first female university chair in the Kingdom of Italy. [240]
IranCompulsory primary education for girls. [152]
The first Iranian school for girls is established by Tuba Azmudeh, followed by others the following years. [152]
1908United States Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the first Black Greek letter organization for women, is founded at Howard University. [98]
United Kingdom Edith Morley is appointed Professor of English Language at University College Reading, becoming the first full professor at a British university institute. [241]
KoreaSecondary education for girls through the foundation of the Capital School for Girl's Higher Education. [117]
PeruUniversities open to women. [242]
Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine and Hesse, GermanyUniversities open to women. [228]
SwitzerlandThe Russian-born Anna Tumarkin becomes the first female professor in Europe with the right to examine doctoral and post-doctoral students. [243]
1909United States Ella Flagg Young becomes the first female superintendent of a large city school system in the United States. [108]
Spain María Goyri de Menéndez Pidal becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Spain, (in philosophy and letters from the University of Madrid). [222]
1910United KingdomMillicent Mackenzie is promoted to full professor, the first woman to reach this level at a fully chartered university in the UK. [244]
1911LuxembourgA new educational law gives women access to higher education, and two secondary education schools open for girls. [245]
1912ChinaThe Chinese government establishes secondary schools for young women. [117]
Costa Rica Felícitas Chaverri Matamoros becomes the first female university student at the Pharmacy School; in 1917 she becomes the first Costa Rican female university graduate. [246]
Japan Tsuruko Haraguchi becomes the first Japanese woman to earn a Ph.D. [247]
CanadaThe first woman professor is hired at a Canadian university. [114]
1913United Kingdom Caroline Spurgeon successfully competes for the newly created chair of English Literature at Bedford College, London, becoming the second female professor in England. [248]
1914Sierra Leone Kathleen Mary Easmon Simango is the first West African woman to become an Associate of the Royal College of Art. [249]
1915United States Lillian Gilbreth becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in industrial psychology (from Brown University with a dissertation titled "Some Aspects of Eliminating Waste in Teaching"). [250] [251]
1917GreeceThe first public secondary educational school for girls is opened. [80]
IranPublic schools for girls are opened in order to enforce the law of compulsory education for girls in practice. [152]
UruguayUniversities open to women. [171]
NicaraguaThe first woman obtains a university degree. [187]
1918ThailandUniversities open to women. [252]
1920PortugalSecondary schools open to women. [217]
ChinaThe first female students are accepted at Peking University, soon followed by universities all over China. [253]
1921United States Sadie Tanner Mossell becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S. {in economics from the University of Pennsylvania). [254]
ThailandCompulsory elementary education for both girls and boys. [252]
1922United States Sigma Gamma Rho sorority is founded as the fourth Black Greek letter organization for women and the first Black sorority established on a predominantly White campus, Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. [98]
1923United States Virginia Proctor Powell Florence becomes the first Black woman in the United States to earn a degree in library science (with a Bachelor of Library Science from what is now part of the University of Pittsburgh). [255] [98] [256] [257]
Canada Elsie MacGill graduates from the University of Toronto in 1927, becoming the first Canadian woman to earn a degree in electrical engineering. [258]
EgyptCompulsory education for both boys and girls. [146]
Australia Winifred Kiek becomes the first woman to graduate with a bachelor of divinity from the Melbourne College of Divinity. [259]
Violet McKenzie becomes the first woman to gain a diploma in electrical engineering (from Sydney Technical College now known as TAFE New South Wales Sydney Institute). [259]
1924Russia Olga Freidenberg becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in classical philology (from Petrograd University). [260]

1925-1949

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1925KoreaProfessional school for women (at Ewha Womans University). [261]
1926United States May Edward Chinn becomes the first African-American woman to graduate from the University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College. [98]
1927AfghanistanThe monarch introduces compulsory education for the daughters of officials. [78]
1928AfghanistanThe first women are sent abroad to study (but are banned from studying abroad in 1929). [78]
BahrainThe first public primary school for girls. [146]
EgyptThe first women students are admitted to Cairo University. [146]
Ghana Jane E. Clerk is one of two students in the first batch at Presbyterian Women's Training College. [262]
1929GreeceSecondary education for girls is made equal to that for boys. [80]
Nigeria Agnes Yewande Savage becomes the first West African woman to graduate from medical school, obtaining her degree at the University of Edinburgh. [263] [264]
United States Jenny Rosenthal Bramley, born in Moscow, becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics in the United States (from New York University). [265]
Elsie MacGill, from Canada, becomes the first woman in North America, and probably worldwide, to be awarded a master's degree in aeronautical engineering. [266]
1930TurkeyEqual right to university education for both men and women. [146]
AustraliaPhysician and zoologist Claire Weekes becomes the first woman to gain a doctorate of science at the University of Sydney. [259]
1931United States Jane Matilda Bolin becomes the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. [98]
Bradford Academy, in Bradford, Massachusetts, changes its name to Bradford Junior College and offers a two-year degree for women. [267]
1932United States Dorothy B. Porter becomes the first African-American woman to earn an advanced degree in library science (MLS) from Columbia University. [98]
1933Sierra Leone Edna Elliott-Horton becomes the first West African woman to receive a baccalaureate degree in the liberal arts on graduating from Howard University. [268]
United States Inez Beverly Prosser becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology (from the University of Cincinnati). [269]
1934United States Ruth Winifred Howard becomes the second African-American woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in psychology (from the University of Minnesota). [270]
1935IranWomen are admitted to Tehran University. [271] [152]
United States Jesse Jarue Mark becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in botany (from Iowa State University). [98]
1936United States Flemmie Kittrell becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition (from Cornell University). [98]
1937KuwaitThe first public schools open to girls. [146]
United States Anna Johnson Julian becomes the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in sociology (from the University of Pennsylvania). [98]
1938Nigeria Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi becomes the first woman to be licensed to practice medicine in Nigeria after graduating from Trinity College Dublin and the first West African female medical officer with a license of the Royal Surgeon (Dublin). [272] [273] [274] [275]
1939United Kingdom Dorothy Garrod becomes the Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, making her the first female professor at either Oxford or Cambridge. [276]
1940United States Roger Arliner Young becomes the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in zoology (from the University of Pennsylvania). [98]
1941United StatesRuth Lloyd becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in anatomy (from Western Reserve University). [98]
Merze Tate becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relations (from Harvard University). [98]
1942United StatesMargurite Thomas becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in geology (from Catholic University). [98]
1943IranCompulsory primary education for both males and females. [146]
United States Euphemia Haynes becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics (from Catholic University). [277]
1945United States Zora Neale Hurston becomes the first African-American woman to be admitted to Barnard College. [108]
Harvard Medical School admits women for the first time. [278]
1946Ghana Jane E. Clerk is among a batch of pioneer women educators in West Africa selected to study at the Institute of Education of the University of London. [279]
1947Ghana Susan Ofori-Atta becomes the first Ghanaian woman to earn a medical degree on graduating from the University of Edinburgh. [263] [264]
United States Marie Maynard Daly becomes the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry (from Columbia University). [98] [280]
United KingdomCambridge University becomes the last university in the UK to allow women to take full degrees. [281]
1948United Kingdom Elizabeth Hill becomes the first Professor of Slavonic studies at the University of Cambridge. [282]
1949United States Joanne Simpson (formerly Joanne Malkus, born Joanne Gerould) becomes the first woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology (from the University of Chicago). [283] [284] [285]

1950-1974

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1950Ghana Matilda J. Clerk becomes the first woman in Ghana and West Africa to attend graduate school, earning a postgraduate diploma at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. [263] [264]
Annie Jiagge, the first woman in the Commonwealth of Nations to become a judge, is called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn. [286] [287]
1951BahrainFirst secondary education school open to girls. [146]
Ghana Esther Afua Ocloo becomes the first person of African ancestry to obtain a cooking diploma from the Good Housekeeping Institute in London and to take the post-graduate Food Preservation Course at Long Ashton Research Station, Department of Horticulture, Bristol University. [288] [289] [290]
United States Maryly Van Leer Peck, becomes the first female chemical engineering graduate, receiving an M.S. and later a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Florida. [291] [292]
1952United States Georgia Tech's president Blake R. Van Leer admits the first women to the school and his wife Ella Wall Van Leer sets up support groups for future female engineers. [291] [292]
1955QatarFirst public school for girls. [146]
1957 Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) Sarah Chavunduka becomes the first black woman to attend the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (today the University of Zimbabwe). [293]
1959United States Lois Graham becomes the first American woman to earn a PhD in mechanical engineering. [294]
1962United States Martha E. Bernal, born in Texas, becomes the first Latina to earn a Ph.D. in psychology (clinical psychology from Indiana University Bloomington). [295] [296]
KuwaitThe right to education is secured for all citizens regardless of gender. [146]
1963Nigeria Grace Alele-Williams becomes the first Nigerian woman to earn a doctorate when she earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Chicago. [277]
GambiaFlorence Mahoney becomes the first Gambian woman to obtain a Ph.D., graduating from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a doctorate in history. [297]
AustraliaMary Lockett becomes the first woman appointed as a professor at the University of Western Australia when she was appointed Wellcome Foundation research professor of pharmacology. [259]
1964AfghanistanThe 1964 constitution states the equal right of women to education. [78]
1965United States Sister Mary Kenneth Keller becomes the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science (from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a thesis titled "Inductive Inference on Computer-Generated Patterns". [298] [299]
KuwaitCompulsory education for both boys and girls. [146]
1966KuwaitUniversity education open to women. [146]
1969United States Lillian Lincoln Lambert becomes the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Business School with an MBA. [60]
Princeton, Yale, Trinity, and Kenyon open applications to women. [300]
1970United States Williams, Colgate University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Virginia allow women to apply for admittance. [300]
1971United StatesBradford Junior College in Bradford, Massachusetts changes its name to Bradford College and offers four-year degrees for women starting in 1972. [267]
Bowdoin, Brown, and Lehigh allows women to apply for admittance. [300]
EgyptThe new constitution confirms women's right to education. [78]
1972United States Title IX is passed, making discrimination against any person based on their sex in any federally funded educational program(s) in America illegal. [301]
Willie Hobbs Moore becomes the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics (from the University of Michigan). [277]
Bradford College in Bradford, Massachusetts becomes a co-educational institution (again) after being founded in 1803 as co-educational and then serving exclusively as a female institution of higher learning from 1837 to 1972. Bradford College closed permanently in May, 2000. The Bradford Alumni Association continues today and is the third oldest continuing alumni association in the United States. [267]
Dartmouth, Davidson, Duke, and College of the Holy Cross allows women to apply for admittance. [300]

1975-1999

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
1974PakistanOne of the earliest and largest open universities, Allama Iqbal Open University started providing distance education, making it accessible for women who couldn't attend traditional schooling due to societal or logistical barriers. [302]
1975United StatesLorene L. Rogers becomes the first woman named president of a major research university in the United States, the University of Texas. [60]
On July 1, 1975, Jeanne Sinkford becomes the first female dean of a dental school as dean of Howard University, School of Dentistry. [303]
Amherst, Claremont, US Naval Academy, West Point, US Airforce Academy and US Coast Guard Academy allows women to apply for admittance. [300]
United KingdomThe Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that protects women from discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status. The Act covers education among other things. [304]
1976-1985InternationalIn 1975, the United Nations declared 1976-1985 the Decade for Women, which profoundly impacted raising awareness about gender inequalities, including those in education. The period witnessed international conferences focusing on women, the first of which was in Mexico City in 1975, the second in Copenhagen in 1980, and the third in Nairobi in 1985. [305]
1976United StatesU.S. service academies (US Military Academy, US Naval Academy, US Air Force Academy and the US Coast Guard Academy) admit women. [306]
1977United StatesHarvard's ratio of four men to one woman ends with "sex-blind admissions". [307]
The American Association of Dental Schools (founded in 1923 and renamed the American Dental Education Association in 2000) appoints Nancy Goorey as its first female president. [308]
1978AfghanistanMandatory literacy and education of all women. [78]
1979United StatesChristine Economides becomes the first American woman to receive a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering (from Stanford University). [309]
Jenny Patrick becomes the first Black woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in chemical engineering (from Massachusetts Institute of Technology). [98]
1980United StatesWomen and men are enrolled in American colleges in equal numbers for the first time. [310] [311]
1982United StatesThe number of bachelor's degrees conferred on women surpasses those conferred on men. [312]
Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan , 458 U.S. 718 (1982) is a case decided 5–4 by the Supreme Court of the United States which holds that the single-sex admissions policy of the Mississippi University for Women violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [313]
Judith Hauptman becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Talmud (from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York). [314] [315] [316]
1983United States Christine Darden becomes the first black woman in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering (from George Washington University). [98]
Columbia College of Columbia University allows women to apply for admittance. [300]
1984United StatesThe U.S. Supreme Court's 1984 ruling Grove City College v. Bell holds that Title IX applies only to those programs receiving direct federal aid. The case reaches the Supreme Court when Grove City College disagreed with the Department of Education's assertion that it was required to comply with Title IX. Grove City College was not a federally funded institution; however, they did accept students who were receiving Basic Educational Opportunity Grants through a Department of Education program. The Department of Education's stance was that, because some of its students were receiving federal grants, the school was receiving federal assistance and Title IX applied to it. The Court decided that since Grove City College was only receiving federal funding through the grant program, only that program had to be in compliance. The ruling was a major victory for those opposed to Title IX, as it made many institutions' sports programs outside of the rule of Title IX and, thus, reduced the scope of Title IX. [317] [318] [319] [320] [321] [322]
1986ZimbabweTo combat gender disparities in higher education, the University of Zimbabwe introduced a quota system to ensure a higher enrollment of women in its programs. [323]
1987United States Johnnetta Cole becomes the first Black president of Spelman College. [98]
1988United StatesThe Civil Rights Restoration Act is passed, extending Title IX coverage to all programs of any educational institution that receives any federal assistance, both direct and indirect. [324]
Pakistan Benazir Bhutto became the first woman to lead a Muslim-majority country as Prime Minister. She had been educated at both Oxford and Harvard, and her leadership set a significant precedent in the Muslim world. [325]
1992GuatemalaIndigenous K'iche' woman Rigoberta Menchú received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. Her prominence also highlighted the importance of education and advocacy. [326]
1994United StatesThe Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Cardiss Collins, requires federally assisted higher education institutions to disclose information on roster sizes for men's and women's teams, as well as budgets for recruiting, scholarships, coaches' salaries, and other expenses, annually. [327]
1995ChinaAt the Fourth World Conference on Women of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, governments globally committed to a detailed action plan. It highlighted the importance of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for women and girls. [328]
1996United States United States v. Virginia , 518 U.S. 515 (1996), is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States strikes down the Virginia Military Institute (VMI)'s long-standing male-only admission policy in a 7–1 decision. (Justice Clarence Thomas, whose son was enrolled at VMI at the time, recused himself.) [329] [330]

21st century

YearLocationMilestoneRef.
2001United States Ruth Simmons becomes the eighteenth president of Brown University, making her the first Black woman to lead an Ivy League institution. [98]
2002AfghanistanFollowing the ousting of the Taliban regime in 2001 by U.S.-led forces, girls' school attendance in Afghanistan increased significantly. By 2018, over 3.6 million girls were enrolled in schools, marking a substantial rise from previous years, especially in secondary education. [331] [332]
IndiaIndia launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001 as a government program to achieve Universalisation of Elementary Education. This program was particularly notable for its focus on the education of girls and children with special needs. The SSA aimed to provide quality elementary education, including life skills and computer education, to about 193 million children across 1.1 million habitations. [333]
2004RwandaRwanda made significant strides in achieving gender parity in education after the 1994 genocide. The government established the Girls’ Education Task Force in 2004 to promote education for young girls. Several policies were introduced to continue gender equality in education, such as the Girls Education Policy (2008), the National Education Policy (2010), and the University of Rwanda Gender Policy (2016). These policies dedicated 50% of student university positions to women and addressed the socio-economic barriers hindering girls' education. Rwanda's success in promoting girls' education is evident in the fact that it currently boasts the highest participation rates in East Africa and has achieved gender parity in net and gross enrollment at pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels. [334] [335]
2005Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia witnessed a significant transformation in higher education for women after 2005, particularly under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship program introduced by King Abdullah. This program was designed to strengthen Saudi academic institutions and broaden their research and course offerings. It marked a notable shift in the country's approach to female education, with an increase in female graduates leading to incremental improvements in the number of women entering top jobs and earning salaries on par with their male colleagues. This change was part of a broader effort to diversify the Saudi economy and embrace high-tech, creative, and specialized industries under the Kingdom's Vision 2030 reform agenda. The reforms not only enhanced educational opportunities for women but also aimed to align students' qualifications with the job market in Saudi Arabia, thereby raising overall efficiency and developing managerial techniques. [336] [337]
2006United StatesFor the first time, more doctoral degrees are conferred on women than men in the United States. This educational gap has continued to increase in the U.S., especially for master's degrees where over 50% more degrees are conferred on women than men. [312]
On November 24, 2006, the Title IX regulations are amended to provide greater flexibility in the operation of single-sex classes or extracurricular activities at the primary or secondary school level. [338]
2007South AfricaThe Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is established in South Africa, aimed at providing educational and leadership opportunities for disadvantaged girls. [339]
2010KenyaKenya's introduction of free primary education in 2003 led to a significant increase in school enrollment rates, achieving over 90% primary enrollment by 2010 and attaining gender parity in primary schools. However, despite this progress, disparities remained at the regional level, with enrollment being much lower in areas with high poverty levels. In some regions, only 19% of girls were enrolled in school. The policy was particularly effective in reducing the educational gender gap and increasing the overall number of students in primary education, including girls [340]
2011IndiaIn April 2011, the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies (IBD) in Dharamsala, India, confers the degree of geshe (a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks and nuns) to Venerable Kelsang Wangmo, a German nun, thus making her the world's first female geshe. [341] [342]
2013Saudi ArabiaThe Saudi government sanctions sports for girls in private schools for the first time. [343]
Mai Majed Al-Qurashi becomes the first woman to receive a PhD in Saudi Arabia (from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology). [344]
United KingdomIt is announced that Ephraim Mirvis has created the job of ma'ayan by which women would be advisers on Jewish law in the area of family purity and as adult educators in Orthodox synagogues. This requires a part-time training course for 18 months, the first such course in the United Kingdom. [345]
TibetTibetan women are able to take the geshe exams for the first time. [346]
2014NigeriaOn the night of April 14–15, 2014, 276 female students aged 16 to 18 were kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria. This incident drew global attention and led to the launch of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The kidnapping highlighted the risks faced by girls pursuing education in conflict areas and the extreme measures taken by Boko Haram against western-style modern education. Despite efforts, many of the kidnapped girls remained missing years after the incident, underscoring the ongoing challenges in the region. The campaign for their release and the international attention it garnered underscored the widespread condemnation of Boko Haram's actions and the global concern for the safety and education of girls in conflict zones. [347]
2015GlobalThe United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, included SDG 4 which specifically focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all. One of the main targets of SDG 4 is to eliminate gender disparities in education and to ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations. The goal emphasizes the importance of achieving literacy and numeracy for all youth and a significant proportion of adults, both men and women, by 2030. SDG 4 also highlights the need to increase the supply of qualified teachers and to improve infrastructure and facilities for effective learning environments, particularly in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Despite progress, challenges such as a high number of out-of-school children and adolescents, as well as disparities in educational access and quality, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, continue to persist. [348] [349]
2016TibetTwenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns become the first Tibetan women to receive geshema degrees. [350] [351]
2020GlobalThe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls' education worldwide in 2020 was profound and multi-faceted. UNESCO estimated that 11 million girls might not return to school following the pandemic, with girls aged 12-17 being particularly at risk of dropping out in low and lower-income countries. The challenges were especially acute for girls from low-income households and those in rural areas. The pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities and introduced new threats to girls' education, including increased risks of child marriage, early pregnancy, and gender-based violence. Many girls were married off as a result of the economic pressures of the pandemic on families, leading to increased teenage pregnancies and a rise in rape cases, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies and school dropouts. The pandemic also highlighted the need for greater investment in education and security for girls as resources for the future of the world. [352]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Washington University in St. Louis</span> Private university in Missouri, US

Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) is a private research university in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Founded in 1853, the university is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of Massachusetts Lowell</span> Public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts, with a satellite campus in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It is the northernmost member of the University of Massachusetts public university system and has been accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) since 1975. With 1,110 faculty members and over 18,000 students, it is the largest university in the Merrimack Valley and the second-largest public institution in the state. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhode Island School of Design</span> Art and design college in Rhode Island, US

The Rhode Island School of Design is a private art and design school in Providence, Rhode Island. The school was founded as a coeducational institution in 1877 by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf, who sought to increase the accessibility of design education to women. Today, RISD offers bachelor's and master's degree programs across 19 majors and enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum—which houses the school's art and design collections—is one of the largest college art museums in the United States.

The first tier of intercollegiate sports in the United States includes sports that are sanctioned by one of the collegiate sport governing bodies. The major sanctioning organization is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Before mid-1981, women's top-tier intercollegiate sports were solely governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). Smaller colleges are governed by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Two-year colleges are governed by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in most of the country, except for the unaffiliated California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).

The United States women's national soccer team was founded in 1985.

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