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TIMELINE

British Women in the 19th Century

1792   

Publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

1813   

Publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

1837   

Queen Victoria ascends to the throne of England at age 17

1839   

Child Custody Act allows women to petition for custody of children under seven years of age

1845   

Elizabeth Barrett elopes to Italy with Robert Browning

1848   

Queen’s College in London established for women who intend to teach

1852   

Women’s Suffrage Petition is presented to the House of Lords but rejected

1854   

Crimean War begins, during which Florence Nightingale introduces hygienic standards into military hospitals

1856   

Publication of Coventry Patmore’s “Angel in the House,” one of the best-selling poems in Victorian England

1857   

Matrimonial Causes Act allows divorce through law courts instead of private act of Parliament: husband must prove wife’s adultery, but wife must prove husband’s adultery plus incest, bigamy, cruelty, or desertion

1864   

Contagious Diseases Act allows police to seize suspected prostitutes and subject them to compulsory examinations for venereal disease; if found to have an STD, they are locked in a hospital until cured

1867     

Representation of People Act extends the vote to most men over 21.  First debate in Parliament on women’s suffrage—John Stuart Mill tries but fails to amend reform bill to grant women the vote, defeated 196 votes to 73

1867   

National Society for Women’s Suffrage founded

1869   

Publication of John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women

1870   

Married Women’s Property Act gives women full rights over inheritances and money earned after marriage.  However, all property in a woman’s name before marriage still legally became her husband’s

1871    

Women win right to vote in municipal elections only, but still cannot vote in national elections

1882   

Second Married Woman’s Property Act gives women ownership over all property acquired by their own efforts

1885   

Age of consent for girls raised from 13 to 16

1886   

Contagious Diseases Act repealed

1888   

Jack the Ripper murders five London prostitutes but is never apprehended

1893   

Third Married Woman’s Property Act gives women control of all their own property

1898   

National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) formed

1901   

Death of Queen Victoria 

1918   

Voting Act extends voting privileges to British women over 30

1920   

Nineteenth Amendment gives women the right to vote in the United States

1928   

British Women win voting rights equal to men

 

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Last modified December 13, 2009 11:20:30 PM EST