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The  Chronology gives an overview of the history of the struggle of women in modern Europe for their equality

The document was created by Dr. Karen Hagemann. It covers the development from the mid-eighteenth to mid-twentieth century and provides also some historical context. You can view and download the document, but the blue links in the document only work once you download the document.





A Framework for the Study of European History of Women in Gender: Mid-Eighteenth to Mid-Twentieth Centuries


IMPORTANT EVENTS and DEVELOPMENTS of Nations, States and the Military/War in Europe and beyond

IMPORTANT INTELLECTUAL DEBATES on Women and Gender (and other issues)  

The HISTORY OF WOMEN AND GENDER, in particular the History of the Women’s Movement


1732 Laura Bassi receives doctoral degree in philosophy, University of Bologna
1742 Dorothea Christine L. Erxleben argues for women’s right to university study
1745 Madame de Pompadour presented at court as the official mistress of Louis XV
1748 Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu’s L’Esprit des lois discusses women’s position under three forms of government
1756 –


May 15, the Seven Year War spread to Europe, when Great Britain declared War on France; August 29, Prussia joined the War against France and his Allies Saxony and Austria. This pitted Great Britain, Prussia, and Hanover against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony. Spain and Portugal were later drawn into the conflict, while a force from the neutral United Provinces of the Netherlands was attacked in India.


In L’Encyclopédie, vol. 6, Jaucourt raises the possibility that the subordination of wives to husbands in marriage is a social construction
1758 –


Exchange between Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Jean-Jacques Rousseau over women’s emancipation
1761 –


Publication of Rousseau’s Julie and Émile;

Founding of Le Journal des dames by Madame de Beaumer

1763 Feb. 10, Treaty of Peace of Paris ends Seven Years War; England defeats France and Prussia Austria in the Seven Years War
1770 Essay competitions concerning women’s education in the French academies; polemics on the woman question by the philosophes; tracts by physicians on women’s specific physiology and health issues
1774 Accession of Louis XVI of France

Marie Antoinette becomes queen of France

1776 July 4, Continental Congress ratified the American Declaration of Independence Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations published
1777 Les Gynographes by Restif de La Bretonne, an antifeminist tract proposing that women should not even be taught to read or write
1778 France allies with the American colonists; war declared between Britain and France.
1783 Treaty of Versailles recognizes the independence of the United States
1787   Marquis de Condorcet’s Letties d’un bourgeois de New Haven à un citoyen de Virginie advocates women’s vote; Memoire pour le sexe féminin contre le sexe masculin by Madame de Coicy
1788 The May Edicts; The Revolt of the Nobility
1789 –


The French Revolution
1789 October, beginning of the French Revolution

election of States-General; the Third Estate assumes the title of National Assembly

the fall of the Bastille; abolition of feudal rights and privileges.


Publication of women’s cahiers;

Aug. 26. Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens

Oct. 5-6, Women’s march on Versailles
1790 Publication of Marquis de Condorcet’s Sur l‘Admission des femmes au droit de cite
1791 Promulgation of the first French Constitution Publication of Olympe de Gouges’s Declaration des droits de la femme Enactment of equal inheritance for daughters; full civil (property) rights for unmarried French women
1792 –


The Revolutionary Wars in Europe; France fights against a coalition of different allies, most importantly Austria, Britain and Prussia
1792 Monarchy in France abolished Publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel’s Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Weiber In Paris, Pauline Léon, a leader of the Parisian Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, demands the right for women to bear arms, because this seems to be the pre-condition for equal citizenship rights for her
1793 The National Assembly votes for the execution of the French king Louis-Marie Prudhomme clashes with the presidents of the provincial women’s clubs

Pierre Guyomar defends political equality between individuals, expressly including women; the Parisian Society of Revolutionary Republican Women campaigns for strict economic controls

Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat

the Committee of Public Safety shuts down the women’s clubs

Olympe de Gouges, Manon Roland, Queen Marie Antoinette all guillotined

1794 French army under Napoleon occupies Italian states (until 1798)

Friedrich Wilhelm III reigned as king of Prussia (from 1797 to 1840)

Johann Gottlieb Fichte publishes The Science of Rights; German scholars debate the difference between the sexes Petitions for women’s rights in the new Italian republics

Dutch tracts on women’s rights

English politicians ridicule demands for women’s political rights

1800 –


Napoleon becomes First Consul, then Emperor; promulgation of the French Civil Code Introduction of state-regulated prostitution in France
1803 –


Napoleonic Wars: the French military campaigns throughout Europe and beyond; France fights against a coalition of different allies, most importantly Austria, Britain, Prussia, Russia and Spain. These wars were fought by the main war powers France and Prussia for the first time with mass armies on the basis of universal conscription; Britain fought with a militia system and a professional army. Tese new form made a mobilization of civil society for war puporse s more necessary than before. All together in the period of Wars between 1792 and 1805 5 million people died. In relation to the population as much as in WW I.


The British author Jane Austen published her most important novels:

Sense and Sensibility,1811

Pride and Prejudice, 1813)

Mansfield Park, 1814

Emma, 1816,

Northanger Abbey, 1817



1807 Dramatic defeat of the Prussian-Russian army by the French troops The French authors Germaine de Staël publishes Corinne Napoleon establishes schools for daughters of the Legion of Honor
1812 First dramatic defeat of the French Army in Russia


Prussian-German War of Liberation against Napoleon (March 1813 – July 1815)

Oct. 1813, Battle of the Nations at Leipzig; Napoleon again dramatically defeated

March 1814, Paris falls; Napoleon abdicates

March 1815, Napoleon returns; June 1815, Napoleon defeated at Waterloo


Women in the German states organize nearly 600 patriotic societies to support the struggle for liberation against France with charity work


The Congress of Vienna was a conference between ambassadors from the major powers in Europe that was chaired by the Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich and held in Vienna, Austria, its purpose was to redraw the continent’s political map after the defeat of Napoleonic France the previous spring.

The discussions continued despite the ex-Emperor Napoleon I’s return from exile and resumption of power in France in March 1815, and the Congress’s Final Act was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo. The Congress was concerned with determining the entire shape of Europe after the Napoleonic wars, with the exception of the terms freedom of peace with France.

1815 –


Period of restoration, severe restrictions on freedom of the press and association throughout Europe Publication of many tracts on women’s education;
1821 –


Greek War of Independence was successfully waged against the Ottoman Empire and supported by liberals all over Europe.
1825 Publication of Appeal of One Half the Human Race Against the Pretensions of the Other Half—Men—to Retain Them in Political and Thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery by William Thompson and Anna Doyle Wheeler
1830 Democratic Revolution of 1830 in Paris; in Paris there is fighting in the street

Louis Phillip II, Duke of Orleans, becomes king

revolts in German Hesse, Brunswick, and Saxony result in new constitutions

Independence for Belgium

Polish Revolution.

1831 The Saint-Simonians launch their appeal, advocating rehabilitation of the flesh
1832 British Reform Act explicitly excludes women from suffrage Publication of George Sand’s novel Indiana
1833 Eugénie Niboyet founds the Conseiller des femmes (Lyon)
1934 Establishment of the Zollverein, or customs union, among the German states.
1836 La Gazette des femmes published by Madeleine Poutret de Mauchamps
1840 Friedrich Wilhelm IV reigned as king of Prussia (from 1840 – 1861)
1841 Voyage en Icarie by Étienne Cabet (communist community as a paradise for women, where everyone will marry)
1843 Publication of Marion Kirkland Reid’s A Plea for Women (Edinburgh);

Publication of Flora Tristan’s L’Union ouvrière

1846 International financial crisis contributes to a high level of unemployment in France – about a third of the working population of Paris starve or are living on charity Pierre-Joseph Proudhon gives women two choices, in his brochure: “Housewife or Harlot”
1847 Publication of Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë under a male pseudonym; Tennyson’s The Princess


The Democratic European Revolution of 1848/49 starts in February and March 1848 in Paris, Berlin, Budapst, Vienna, etc.,; the democratic and liberal leaders demand everywhere equal political rights.

Louis Phillipe abdicates, a republic is proclaimed when liberal proclamations are passed; the French Provisional Government establishes universal manhood suffrage, abolishes black slavery in the colonies; first elections result in a moderate republican majority

Uprisings in Berlin too in March 1848; Frederick William IV grants a constitution.

Publication of Auguste Comte’s Systeme de politique positive, where he argues that “man should provide for woman” and designates women as priestesses for the religion of humanity

Debates on the woman question in German-language press

Parisian women demand to know why women have been “forgotten” politically; they demand for rights, including the vote and representation

founding of women’s clubs, women’s press, La Voix des femmes in Paris

Founding of women’s clubs in Vienna, Berlin, etc.

Mid July, Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention (U.S.)

Late July, Closing of the Parisian women’s clubs (late)


1849 Democratic Revolutions (February 1848 – July 1849) culminate in 1949 in Revolutionary (Civil) Wars

July, defeat of the democratic and liberal armies by the restaurative troops.

Papal encyclical Ubi Plimum proposes the elevation of the Virgin Mary to rally female support for the Catholic Church

response by Johannes Ronge of the progressive German Catholic groups

Louise Otto-Peters founds the Frauenzeitung in Meißen near Dresden

Jeanne Deroin founds L’Opinion des femmes, declares her candidacy for office; polemic with Proudhon


1850 Repression in Austria, France and Prussia; new laws against free political association and free publishing and speech
1851 Coup d’etat of Louis Napoleon, national assembly dissolved Jeanne Deroin and Roland address their letter from prison to the women of America

Harriet Taylor Mill’s article in the Westminster Review

1852 Second Empire declared and Louis Napoleon takes title of Emperor Napoleon III.
1852 –


Jeanne Deroin publishes the Almanach des femmes with articles in French and English
1853 –


Crimean War from 1854 until 1856 and was fought between Imperial Russia the United Kingdom. France the Ottoman and Piedmont-Sardinia.
1854 Papal promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Barbara Leigh Smith protests the legal position of married women in England
1856 Women’s Petition to Parliament (London)
1856 –


Jenny P. d’Héricourt takes on P. J. Proudhon
1858 Publication of Pierre Joseph Proudhon’s De la Justice

Publication of Juliette Lamber’s Idees anti-proudhoniennes

British Parliament restricts medical profession to holders of British degrees in response to Elizabeth Blackwell’s registration as a physician, with an American degree and a French internship
1859 Russian women admitted to university lectures
1859 –


Publication of Jules Michelet’s L’Amour and La Femme

Publication of Jenny P. d’Hericourt’s La Femme affranchie

1860 –


American Civil War; abolition of slavery (1864-65)

Abolition of serfdom in Russia

1861 Unification of Italy; codification of laws begins;

Accession of William I to Prussian throne (from 1861 – 1888), from January 18, 1871 – 9 March 1888 first German Emperor.

Publication of Maine’s Ancient Law and Johann Jacob Bachofen’s Das Mutterrecht Julie-Victoire Daubié becomes the first woman to earn the French baccalaureate
1862 Otto von Bismarck becomes Minister President of Prussia. Swedish women taxpayers granted the municipal vote
1864 Danish-German War, December 1863 – July 1864, between the Northern German States and the Danish Kingdom The University of Zurich opens its medical school to women auditors
1865 The All-German Workers’ Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded in Leipzig by Ferdinand Lassalle Okt., Founding of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Frauenverein (Association of German Women) by Louise Otto Peters and  Auguste Schmidt
1866 Austrian Prussian War In 1866, Hastings resident Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon had drafted and promoted a petition for votes for women, thus sowing the seeds of a nationwide movement for votes for women.


Massive women’s suffrage petition in England;

Patriotic Women’s Associations founded in Germany to support the War

1866 –


Debates on women’s work in the International Working Men’s Association (Geneva, Lausanne)

Passage of Contagious Disease Acts (1866, 1867) in England

1867 Constitution of the Austrian-Hungarian “Dual Monarchy The British House of Commons debates John Stuart Mill’s woman suffrage amendment to Second Reform Act;

University of Zurich grants first medical degree to a woman

1867 –


Secularists and Catholics battle over lecture courses for girls in Paris
1868 Emily Davies argues that English girls must pass the same university entrance examinations as boys do; Marie Goegg-Pouchoulin founds the Association Internationale des Femmes;

Empress Eugénie opens the Paris Faculty of Medicine to women

1869 German Socialist Workers Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SAPD) founded in Eisenach by August Bebel Publication of John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women; Single women granted municipal vote in England
1869 –


Intensive European-wide debates over women’s physical and mental suitability for higher education; Founding of Girton College and Newnham College at Cambridge

Sophia Jex-Blake and friends obtain permission to study medicine at Edinburgh University

1870 –


Franco-Prussian War, fought between the French republic and Prussia, the Northern German Alliance and Southern German States.
1871 Paris Commune in March to May of 1871 defeated by the Prussian-Germany army

May 1871 unification of German

French establish Provisional Government that leads (1875) to the Third Republic

Reestablishment of the Association Internationale des Femmes

In the 1870s and 1880s women’s suffrage groups sprung up all over Britain. The first in was the London National Society, which later came under the umbrella of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).


1871 The German Constitution of 1871 establishes universal manhood suffrage for election of Reichstag delegates; Abortion criminalized in the German Penal Code
1872 Russia establishes medical courses exclusively for women, in St. Petersburg (closed again in 1887)
1874 Josephine Butler and associates launch crusade against regulated prostitution on the Continent, especially against the French system
1875 Formation of the German Socialist Workers Party (union of SAPD und ADAV)

All religious orders in Prussia are dissolved, called the Kulturkampf;

Republican constitution in France

Debates over the female right to paid work in the German Socialist Workers Party
1876 British Parliament amends the Medical Act, removing restrictions based on sexual difference
1877 Founding of the British and Continental Federation for the Abolition of Prostitution, Geneva
1878 1878-1890 Anti-Socialist-Law in Germany, the German Socialist Workers Party was forbidden, leading social democrats were sent to prison or had to emigrate First International Congress on Women’s Rights, Paris

Hubertine Auclert challenges the omission of woman suffrage from the International Congress agenda

Russia opens first women’s university

Université de Neufchatel opened to women

1879 Publication of August Bebel’s Die Frau in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft (Women in Socialism), which was translated in 56 countries; he demand euqal rights for women in economy, society and politics: equal universal citizenship including the right to vote; equal right of paid work, equal right to be educated etc. Hubertine Auclert challenges the French worker’s congress to support women’s rights
1880 First production in Copenhagen of Henrik Ibsen’s play Et Dukkehjem (A Doll’s House, published 1879) France establishes free and obligatory primary education for both sexes, and separate state secondary schools for girls
1883 Repeal of the British Contagious Disease Acts
1884 Publication of Theodore Stanton’s The Woman Question in Europe;

Publication of Friedrich Engel’s Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats

1888 Founding of the International Council of Women (ICW) by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), in Washington, D.C.
1889 Centennial of the French Revolution; international expositions in Paris

Founding of Second International Working Men’s Association

Bertha von Suttner publishes Die Waffen nieder (Lay Down Your Arms); Two international women’s congresses held in Paris


1890 International congress on limitation of women’s employment convened by the German government

German Social Democratic Workers Party organized special units for social democratic women

The General German Association of Women School Teachers (ADLV) was founded by Helene Lange

1891 German Socialist Workers Party is allowed again, starts as Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Papal encyclical Rerum Novarum Founding of the Fédération Abolitionniste Internationale
1892 Clara Zetkin, the leader of the German social democratic women, starts the  journal Die Gleichheit (Equality) for working class women. This journal was published till 1923. It was the leading journal of the International socialist women’s association. First self-proclaimed “feminist” women’s congress in Paris (May)
1893 Independent Labor Party (ILP), organization of British ethical socialist was founded Founding of the Allgemeiner Österreichischer Frauenverein (General Austrian Women’s Association)
1894 Die Frau (The Women), edited by Helene Lange and Gertrud Bäumer became the leading journal of the BDF March 28-29, Founding of the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine (General German Women’s Association, BDF), the first leader was Auguste Schmidt (till 1899), afterwards Marie Stritt (till 1910)
1896 Ellen Key asserts importance of motherhood, rather than paid labor, and calls for state subsidies for mothers Second feminist congress in Paris; Marie Maugeret founds Christian feminism, Paris;

international women’s congress in Berlin; feminists launch protests against new German Civil Code

1897 Founding of La Fronde, Paris;

founding of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), England;

women admitted to study at the University of Vienna

1899 Hague Peace Conference Women’s petition (a million signatures) addressed to The Hague Peace Conference

Founding of the German-Evangelical Women’s Association by Paula Müller-Otfried

1899 –


Huge congress of the International Council of Women (ICW) in London; two international feminist congresses in Paris
1900 Marie Maugeret founds the Catholic womens organization Fédération Jeanne d’Arc
1901 Norwegian women taxpayers obtain municipal vote and right of election; first suffrage proposal introduced in French Chamber of Deputies
1902 International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) founded in Washington, D.C.
1903 Founding of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Manchester, England
1904 Founding of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) conference in Berlin

International agreement on the suppression of white slave trade;

Bertha Pappenheim founded the Jüdischer Frauenbund (Jewish Women’s Association);

Feminist protests in Paris and Vienna against the Civil Codes of France and Austria

1906 Women (and men) accorded the national vote in Finland
1907 First International Congress of the Socialist Women in Stuttgart, Clara Zetkin is elected as the leader of the socialist women’s movement.

Women’s Section of the Second International Workingmen’s Association endorses unrestricted woman suffrage as a socialist goal

1908 All-Russian Congress of Women, St. Petersburg;

Prohibitions lifted on German women’s participation in public life, they are allowed to participate in political meetings and become members of the political parties for the first time.

1909 Alexandra Kollontai publishes Sotsial’nye osnory zhenskogo voprosa (The Social Basis of the Woman Question); Founding of the Union Française pour le Suffrage des Femmes
1910 Socialist women endorse International Women’s Day with the aim of the universal and equal suffrage at the second International Congress of the Socialist Women

International convention to end the white slave trade

1911 Norwegians elect a woman to the Storting (Parliament):

Suffrage campaign peaks in France

1912 Parliamentary defeat of the Third Conciliation Bill (electoral reform), Great Britain
1913 Norwegian women obtain full parliamentary suffrage;

International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) meets in Budapest; abolitionist meetings in Paris and London;

1914 July, Serbian conspirator assassinates the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo

Socialist Demonstrations against a war all over Europe

Suffrage campaign peaks in France (spring and. early summer);

International Council of Women (ICW) meets in Rome;

May, International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) sponsors massive suffrage rally in Rome .

1914 –


World War I: The war was fought by the Allied Powers on one side (Belgium, Britain, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, Serbia, and the United States), and the Central Powers (Austria and Germany, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria) on the other. No previous conflict had mobilized so many soldiers or involved so many in the field of battle. By its end, the war had become the second bloodiest conflict in recorded history (behind the Taiping Rebellion), though it was surpassed within a generation by World War II. In World War I about 5% of the casualties (directly caused by the war) were civilian – in World War II, this figure was 50%. In total 16 million people died (9 Million military)

World War I proved to be the decisive break with the old world order, marking the final demise of absolutist monarchy in Europe. Four empires were shattered: the German, the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Russian. Their four dynasties, the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, the Ottomans, and the Romanovs, who had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell during or after the war.

International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) Manifesto, after the start of the ware, calling for arbitration

The General German Women’s Association (BDF) supports the war, as did the German Social Democratic Party and their Women’s committee. All German women’s organization were founding together the National Women’s Service (Nationalen Frauendienst), to support the war actively at home; only a small minority of SPD members is from the very beginning against the war, part of them were Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg

Also the majority of the women’s organizations from the left and the right support the war, for them it is a defense war against the Austro-German aggressor.

Women in all involved countries were to be mobilized by the state to support the war actively by starting to work in the war industry and replace the men

1915 International Socialist Women’s Conference against the War in Bern, organized by Clara Zetkin and others.

International Congress of Women at The Hague; International Women’s League for Peace founded (becomes WILPF in 1919)

Danish women enfranchised

1916 Easter Uprising, Dublin, Ireland
1917 Founding of the Independent Social democratic Party in Germany (USPD), its members broke with the SPD because of their support of WW I

In February 1917 start of the Russian Revolution, in October the Bolsheviks seize power and confirm women’s equality; separate Peace with Germany.

Oct., Bolsheviks seize power and confirm women’s equality: Russian women were granted the equal vote
1918 Nov. 11, the First World War ends with a defeat of Austria and Germany

General Strike in Berlin. The Emperor flees to Holland, the November Revolution ends the German Empire, Germany becomes a Republic;

the German Communist Party was founded in Berlin in December 1918. Her leaders became Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg

Nov. 8, German women over 20 were granted the equal vote;

British women above age 30 granted the vote, along with all remaining unenfranchised men;

Nov., All-Russian Congress of Women;

Maternity and Child Welfare Act, Great Britain

1918 –


Women granted the vote (in various forms) in the Netherlands, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, but not in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Romania, or Bulgaria
1919 Jan., Free Corps, a group of ex-soldiers, arrested and murdered Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht;

Jan. 19, German National Constituent Assembly elected, met in Weimar, declared Weimar Republic.

April 28, founding of the League of Nations;

June 28, Treaty of Versailles


Pro-suffrage Allied women meet in Paris to influence Treaty of Versailles;

Founding of the League of Nations and the International Labor Organization (ILO); ILO Conference on Women’s Work, Washington, D.C.

Founding of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Zurich;

First International Congress of Working Women.

The social democratic Workers Welfare (Arbeiterwohlfahrt) was founded in Berlin and became until 1933 one of the main fields of activity for German social democratic women.

1919 –


Spartacist revolt in Berlin put down by government using the “Free Corps,” a group of ex-soldiers. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht are arrested and murdered by the Free Corps. National Constituent Assembly elected, meets in Weimar, declared Weimar Republic.

Hyperinflation in Germany starts, which results 1923 in deep economy and social crisis of German post-war society.

First Campaign against so-called ‘double earning’ women. i.e. married women, who are employed full-time, in Germany
1920 Russian revolutionary government legalizes abortion (Nov.):

French pro-natalists proclaim the Rights of the Family

1921 July 29, Adolf Hitler becomes leader of National Socialist Party (NSDAP).
1922 Benito Mussolini and Fascists come to power in Italy, Mussolini rules until 1943.
1924 Publication of Eleanor Rathbone’s The Disinherited Family;


International Council of Women (ICW) Conference on the Prevention of the Causes of War
1925 –


July 18, 1925 Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” published.

Sigmund Freud addresses the woman question; Karen Horney responds

1926 Sept 8., Germany admitted to League of Nations The Soviet Code on Marriage and Divorce

International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) Congress in Paris: schism over protective legislation for women; IWSA becomes International Alliance of Women (IAW)

1927 Report of the Special Body of Experts on Traffic in Women and Children published by the League of Nations;

Oxford University restricts the number of women students admitted

1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact on the outlawry of war Age of suffrage for women is lowered from 30 to 21 in Great Britain.
1929 Oct 29, Stock Market on Wall Street crashes. Great Depression with an unusual high unemployment rate starts Assaults begin on women’s employment and feminist campaigners mobilize in its defense;

États-Généraux du Féminisme, Paris

1929 –


Great Depression, worldwide economic crisis
1930 Papal encyclical Casti Connubi
1931 Second Spanish Republic (1931-39), leaded by a coalition of Socialists and Communists Women get the vote in Spain;

International Labor Organization (ILO) endorses Convention on Equal Pay for Equal Work;

Liaison Committee of Women’s International Organizations established

1932 Women’s massive petition for peace presented to the League of Nations Disarmament Conference in Geneva
1933 Jan. 31, Hitler comes to power in Germany, Nazis order dissolution of organizations The Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine (BDF) dissolves itself in protest.
1933 –


The ‘Third Reich’ in Germany
1934 Aug 2, German President Hindenburg dies; Aug 19, – Adolf Hitler became the Führer of Germany. Manifesto of the World Congress of Women against War and Fascism
1935 March 16, Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by introducing military conscription; Sept 15, German Jews stripped of rights by Nuremberg Race Laws;

Oct., Mussolini invades Abyssinia (Ethiopia)

1936 March 7, German troops occupy the Rhineland; Aug 1, Olympic games begin in Berlin;

May 9, Mussolini’s Italian forces take Ethiopia;

May 3, Popular Front government in France. The Popular Front won the general election of May 3. For the first time, the Socialists won more seats than the Radicals, and the Socialist leader Léon Blum became France’s first Socialist Prime Minister. The first Popular Front cabinet consisted of twenty Socialists, thirteen Radicals and two Socialist Republicans (there were no Communist Ministers).

May 3, French Popular Front government appoints three women ministers (women were not able to vote in France at that time)
1936 –


The Spanish Civil War (July 1936–April 1939), July 18, Civil war erupts in Spain; started by the Fascist under General Franco, who declared head of Spanish State on Oct 1, it was a conflict in which the incumbent Second Spanish Republic and left-wing groups fought against a right-wing nationalist rebellion led by.


1936 in Spain founding of Mujeres Libres

Swedish pro-population reforms; Gunnar and Alva Myrdal reconfigure women as workers who have the right to children

1937 Congress of Women’s World Committee against War and Fascism, Paris

League of Nations authorizes formation of Committee on the Status of Women

Constitution of the Irish Republic qualifies women’s rights

1938 March 12/13, Germany announces ‘Anschluss’ (union) with Austria; Aug 12, German military mobilizes

Sept 30, British Prime Minister Chamberlain appeases Hitler at Munich

Oct 15, German troops occupy the Sudetenland; Czech government resigns

Nov 9/10, Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass in Germany – Nazi terror against Jews.

Publication of Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas
1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact

Sept 1, the Second World War started with the German invasion of Poland

March 15/16, Nazis take Czechoslovakia;

March 28, Spanish Civil war ends.

Publication of The Law and Women’s Work by the League of Nations International Alliance of Women (IAW) meets in Copenhagen


1939 –







The Second World War and the Holocaust. Most Western accounts place the start of the conflict on September 1, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, which drew in Britain, France and the Commonwealth. Some consider the Japanese attack on China (July 7, 1937) to be part of the same conflict. The Soviet Union annexed part of Poland in 1939, fought a separate war with Finland, and became one the Allies when attacked by Germany in June 1941. The United States entered the conflict in December of 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The war lasted until 1945, when the Axis powers surrendered.


Women in all war states were mobilized for the War. They had to work in the war industries and replace the men there. Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States founded moreover Auxiliary Corps for Women


World War II resulted in the direct or indirect death of more than 60 million people, over 3% of the world population at that time. Attributed in varying degrees to the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, and the rise in nationalism, racism, fascism, National socialism, Japanese imperialism, and militarism, the causes of the war are a matter of debate.
1940 Alva Myrdal publishes Nation and Family in Sweden
1942 The Beveridge Report (England) lays out a social welfare system in which wives derive benefits exclusively through employment of husbands
1944 May, Allied offensive against the Axis powers launched The New Soviet Family Law promulgated
1945 May 7, Unconditional surrender of all German forces to Allies; May 8, V-E (Victory in Europe) Day. Papal broadcast on Woman’s Dignity


French and Italian women vote after the war for first time

Founding of the United Nations

Founding of Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), Paris

1946 Viola Klein publishes The Feminine Character: History of an Ideology Founding of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
1947 The “Cold War” affirmed

The Soviet Molotov Plan

1948 United States congress passes Marshall Plan of economic recovery for Europe;

Berlin Airlift begins

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1949 Berlin airlift ends,

German Democratic Republic (East Germany) founded

Publication of Margaret Mead’s Male and Female

Publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex)

UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others
1952 ILO Convention on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers
1953 Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) raises the women’s rights banner in Copenhagen at its World Congress of Women
1955 UNESCO publishes Duverger’s survey The Political Role of Women