Key Events and Women Firsts
1715 - Ann Teresa Matthews, first woman to receive a patent for inventing a tool that cleaned and cured corn
1784 - Hannah Adams, first female professional writer
1812 - Lucy Brewer, first female marine
1812 - Tabitha Babbit invents the circular saw
1848 - Women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton calls together the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y., and presents The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. Resembling the structure of the American Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Sentiments demanded equality between the sexes in law, education and employment and demanded that women be allowed to vote.
1849 - Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to receive a medical degree
March 8, 1857 - Female garmet and textile workers in New York went on strike due to low wages, long working hours, inadequate pay, inhumane working conditions and the lack of the right to vote
1864 - Kate Mullany, founded the all-female Collar Laundry Union—the first woman's labor union in the United States
1866 - Lucy Hobbs, first woman to graduate from dental school
May 1869 - The National Woman Suffrage Association is formed by suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The organization's primary goal is to obtain voting rights for women.
1872 - Victoria Chaflin Woodhull, first female presidential candidate
1881 - Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
1882 - Maria Beaseley invents the life raft
1887 - Anna Connelly invents the fire escape
1893 - Margaret Wilcox invents the car heater
1893 - Colorado becomes the first state to adopt an amendment giving women the right to vote.
1896 - The National Association of Colored Women is formed
1900 - Margaret Abbot, first Female American Olympic winner
1903 - Mary Anderson invents the windshield wiper
1910 - Blanche Scott, first woman to fly an airplane
1916 - Margaret Haley, a former school teacher and the leader of the movement to unionize teachers, took over the full-time leadership of the Chicago Teachers Federation
1916 - Jeannette Rankin, first woman elected into the U.S. House of Representatives; she represented Montana
1920 - Florence E. Allen, first female judge
1920 - The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor is formed to safeguard working conditions for women
Aug. 26, 1920 - The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, is signed
1924 - Hallie Ferguson, first female governor in the U.S.
1931 - Jane Addams, first American woman to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize
1932 - Hattie Wyatt Caraway, first woman elected into the U.S. Senate
1933 - Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
1939 - Hattie McDaniel, first woman and the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the film, Gone With the Wind
1961 - Eleanor Roosevelt is appointed chairwoman of the President's Commission on the Status of Women established by President John Kennedy
1963 - Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, first female to fly into space
June 10, 1963 - The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress making it illegal to pay a woman less than a man for equal amount of work.
1964 - Stephanie Kwolek invents Kevlar
1964 - Discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex is made illegal with the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
1966 - Betty Friedan and other feminists found the National Organization for Women (NOW)
1970 - Diane Crump, first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby
1972 - Sex Discrimination in schools is made illegal with the passage of Title IX of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
1980 - Bette Nesmith Graham invents liquid paper (Whiteout)
1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
1983 - Sally Kristen Ride, first American woman in space
1986 - Ann Bancroft, first woman to walk to the North Pole
1997 - Madeleine K. Albright, first woman Secretary of State
1999 - Randi Altschul invents the disposable cell phone
2007 - Nancy Pelosi, first female Speaker of the House