Skip to main content »

Trinity College Dublin

Click to go to homepageA Century of Women in Trinity College Dublin
Welcome from the Vice Provost
Calendar of Events
History of Women in TCD
Photographs and Images
Women Alumni
News and Reviews
Side Banner

A Timeline of the History of Women in Trinity

1869 Trinity College Examinations for Women introduced.

1879 Charles Wilkins prize presented for mathematics in the Examinations for Women

1892 Memorial by 10,000 Irish women presented to the Board of College requesting admission to the College. Memorial rejected and re-presented by a group of gentlemen. Board sought legal opinion and refused the request.

1903 Board applied for a King's Letter to allow the admission of women. Degrees in Arts and Medicine opened to women.

1904 First woman student, Marion Weir Johnston entered in Hilary Term, followed by two Junior Freshmen, Ellen Tuckey and Averina Shegog who attended lectures on their own.

1904 Honorary Degrees awarded in Trinity term to three leading Irish women, Isabella Mulvany, President of the Irish Association of Women Graduates, Sophie Bryant, principal of North London Collegiate School, Jane Barlow, novelist and author of Irish Idylls.

1904-7 'Steamboat Ladies' from Oxford and Cambridge women's colleges came to take out Dublin University 'ad eundem' degrees over a period of three years. They had successfully completed their university examinations but were not yet eligible for degrees in their own universities. Most of the women were teachers, headmistresses and academics and they usually stayed only one night in Dublin and returned as soon as possible to England by the steamboat.

1905 First cohort of around forty women students entered in Michaelmas Term.

1905 Miss Lucy Gwynn, Lady Registrar, appointed. Rules and Regulations for Women introduced. Women had to leave the College before 6pm, had to wear 'cap and gown' and could not visit private rooms unless accompanied by a chaperon.

1905 Elizabethan Society for Women founded, named after the College foundress, it organized a common room, debates, sport and lunch-room, in No 6.

1905 Ethel Hanan first woman awarded first class degree in History and Political Science with Large Gold Medal.

1905 Eva Jellett, first woman medical graduate.

1905 Honorary degrees conferred on three more Irish women - Margaret Byers, principal of Victoria College, Belfast, Henrietta White, principal of Alexandra College, Dublin and Hon. Emily Lawless, poetess.

1906 Olive Purser becomes the first woman elected to Non-Foundation Scholarship. (Women could not be elected to Foundation Scholarship as they could not be full members of 'College Body Corporate', and therefore could not vote for the university parliamentry seats, and could not reside in College.

1906 First group of eight women Moderators graduated in December. Muriel Bennett awarded a Large Gold Medal in Modern Literature.

1908 Trinity Hall founded a an university residence for women students. The first Warden was Miss Margaret Cunningham who remained in office until her death in 1940.

1909 Constantia Maxwell appointed lecturer in Modern History, first woman on the academic staff. She later was appointed Lecky Professor of Modern History in 1946.

1910 Georgina Revington won Large Gold Medal in Natural Science.

1916 Kathleen Hughes won Large Gold Medal in Experimental Science.

1918 Women first admitted as members of the DU Experimental Science Association (DUESA). Women had already been admitted to the DU Choral Society.

1920 Women students admitted to the School of Engineering.

1921 Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell, two TCD law graduates, were the first women called to the Bar.

1922 DU Women Graduates' Association founded. Lucy Gwynn was the first president

1925 Professor Frances Moran appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law - the first woman appointed to a chair.

1929 Women were admitted as members to the DU Biological Society.

1946 Professor Moran was appointed Regius Professor of Law and was the first woman 'to take silk' at the Irish Bar.

1951 Professor A.J. Otway Ruthven was appointed Lecky Professor of Modern History
1958 Women staff admitted to the Senior Common Room.

1968 Women first elected to Fellowship and to Foundation Scholarship and women Foundation Scholars permitted to reside on campus.

1969 Women admitted to the College Historical Society, ( 'not until man walks on the moon will a woman set foot in here').

1970 First woman graduate in Engineering.

1972 Women admitted to reside in College.

1981 First Woman College Officer (Registrar).

2000 First woman candidate for election to Provostship.

2001 Dr. Jane Grimson becomes the first Woman Vice-Provost.

Back to top


History Links
  History Home Page
Alice Oldham
General Timeline

'A Danger to the Men? : A History of Women in Trinity College, Dublin 1904-2004' ed. Susan Parkes
Click to preview