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Women's Education: A Timeline

From Bloomsburg University's Women's History Timeline: Women and Education

1784: Hanna Adams is the first American woman to support herself by writing.

1791: French activist Olympia de Gouges publishes Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne (“Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the [Female] Citizen”), in which she argues that women are citizens as much as are men. She goes to the guillotine in 1793.

1819: Emma Hart Willard writes her "Plan for Improving Female Education," which calls for a publicly funded educational institution for women. In 1821, she opens a school in Troy, NY with the tax funds from the city.

1826: The first public high schools for girls open in New York City and Boston.

1833: Oberlin College in Ohio opens as the first co-educational college in the U.S.

1838: Mount Holyoke College is established in Massachusetts as first college for women.

1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Women doctors are permitted to legally practice medicine for the first time.

1850: The Female (later Women's) Medical College is founded in Pennsylvania.

1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin, one of the most important antislavery novels in America; it sells 300,000 copies in the first year.

1863: Mary Edwards Walker becomes a surgeon for the Union army in the American Civil War. In 1865 she receives a Congressional Medal of Honor. It is revoked shortly before her death and then reawarded posthumously.

1865: The University of Zürich becomes the first European university to admit women.

1908: The government of Iran institutes a plan to improve women's literacy.

1919: Architect Julia Morgan designs several buildings for the University of California, Berkley, and later becomes William Randolph Hearst’s chief architect. She designs the Los Angeles Examiner Building and the Hearst Castle.

1921: American novelist Edith Wharton becomes the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Age of Innocence.

1931: Jane Addams receives the Nobel Prize for Peace.

1972: Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in public schools resulting in the substantial increased enrollment of women in athletic programs and professional schools

1974: The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy becomes the first U.S. service academy to enroll women.

1981: Chinese American Maya Lin wins a public design competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while still an undergraduate architecture student at Yale University.

1993: France Anne Córdova becomes the first woman – and the youngest person – to hold the position of Chief Scientist for NASA.

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