Timeline of women's sports
This is a timeline of women's sports, spanning from ancient history up to the 21st century. It includes both competitive sports and notable physical feats.
25–220 – The ancient game of Tsu Chu may have been played by women during the Han Dynasty; two female figures are depicted in frescoes dating from this period, playing Tsu Chu. There are a number of opinions about the dates, the earliest estimates are 5000 BCE.
Pre-Columbian Era – In the Americas, women from many indigenous tribes participated in sports such as foot races, swimming, stick and ball games, and wrestling contests. Starting in the 16th century, however, European settlers and colonial influence gradually began limiting athletic opportunities for indigenous women, particularly as Europeans tried to forcibly assimilate indigenous people into Western culture.
1745 – The first recorded women's cricket match took place in Surrey, England. By the second half of the eighteenth century, women's cricket matches played between local teams became common in the South East of England.
1768 – A French woman named Madame Bunel played a highly publicized tennis match against the English Mr. Tomkins. After three sets, she defeated him 2-1, subsequently winning again in a rematch 11 days later.
1784 – Elizabeth Thible of France was the first women to fly in a hot air ballon.
1816 – French tightrope walker Madame Saqui performed in England to celebrate the opening of Vauxhall Bridge. After ascending a 300-ft inclined rope to the top of a tower, she completed one of her signature tricks, running back down along the rope while fireworks exploded in the background.
1850 – A new style of women's dress, first introduced by Fanny Kemble, a British-born actress, began to be publicised by American Amelia Jenks Bloomer. Other women's rights leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony adopted the new style – loose-fitting pants worn under a skirt.
1867 – The Dolly Vardens from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an all African-American baseball team, became the first women's professional sports team.
1874 – Mary Ewing Outerbridge of Staten Island introduced tennis to the United States. She purchased tennis equipment in Bermuda (and had trouble getting it through customs) then used it to set up the first U.S. tennis court at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club that spring.
1875 – The "Blondes" and "Brunettes" played their first baseball match in Springfield, Illinois on September 11. Newspapers heralded the event as the "first game of baseball ever played in public for gate money between feminine ball-tossers." 
1890 – The American Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran Seaman) became the first woman to travel around the world alone – she did it in 72 days while a reporter for the New York World newspaper, returning on January 25.
1892 – Four young women started what became ZLAC Rowing Club in San Diego, California, which is thought today to be the world's oldest continuously existing all-women's rowing club.
1893 – Newnham College Boat Club was formed in Cambridge, England.
1893 – The Ladies' Golf Union, the governing body for women's and girls' amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland, was founded in St Andrews, Scotland and the first British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship was won by Lady Margaret Scott at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.
1894 – A ladies golf tournament, the first in the United States, was held on the 7-hole Morristown, New Jersey course on October 17. Miss Hollard A. Ford won with a 97 scored on the double-7, 14 strokes under her nearest rival.
1895 – A women's amateur golf championship, the first in the United States, was contested among 13 golfers at the Meadow Brook Club, Hempstead, New York, on November 9. The match was won by Mrs. Charles S. Brown with a 132 and the runner-up is Nellie Sargent.
1895 – The first organized athletics meeting in the U.S. was generally recognized as the "Field Day" at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, on November 9. A group of "nimble, supple and vivacious girls" engaged in running and jumping events despite bad weather.
1896 – The first 6-day bicycle race for women started on January 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1896 – The first women's intercollegiate basketball championship was played between Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. Stanford won 2–1 on April 4 before a crowd of 700 women.
1897 – Adine Masson, of France, became the first winner of the ladies singles at the French Open.
1898 – Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract, appearing in her first professional game pitching for the Philadelphia Reserves.
1900 – The 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris introduces women's events, offering golf, tennis, and croquet. Hélène de Pourtalès of Switzerland was the first woman to win a gold medal as part of a mixed sailing crew. Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain becomes the first individual female winner in an Olympic event. American Margaret Abbott won a gold medal in golf.
1905 – The Camogie Association is founded in Dublin, Ireland to organise and promote the women's sport of camogie in Ireland and across the world.
1905 – Women from Britain and America first play an international golf match, with the British winning 6 matches to 1.
1912 – Fanny Durack, from Australia, became the first female Olympic swimming champion at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, when she won the women's 100 m freestyle event. Compatriot, Mina Wylie finished second, becoming the first female swimming silver medallist. This was also the first olympics to include women's diving.
1914 – U.S. women's basketball rules changed to allow half-court play.
1917 – Women's association football became popular on a large scale in the United Kingdom during the First World War, when employment in heavy industry spurred the growth of the game, much as it had done for men fifty years earlier. A team from England played a team from Ireland on Boxing Day 1917 in front of a crowd of 20,000 spectators. The following year, a knock-out competition called the Munitionettes Cup was held which attracted 30 teams. The final was played in front of a crowd of 22,000.
1918 – Marie-Louise Ledru, a French athlete, has been credited as the first woman to race the now-defined marathon distance of 42.195 km. On September 29, 1918, Ledru reportedly completed the Tour de Paris Marathon in a time of 5 hours and 40 minutes and finished in 38th place. The International Association of Athletics Federations, the international governing body for the sport of athletics, however, recognizes Violet Piercy from England as having set the first women's world best in the marathon on October 3, 1926 with a time of 3:40:22.
1919 – Afghanistan became independent from British control and began working to "modernize the country" by introducing new sports and physical fitness opportunities for girls and women. Basketball and volleyball teams were created in all girls' high schools.
1920 – Dick, Kerr's Ladies association football team played in the first women's international matches in 1920, against a team from Paris, France, and also made up most of the England team against a Scottish Ladies XI in the same year, winning 22-0.
1920 – The first American women's field hockey team, All-Philadelphia team, competed internationally. Their application to the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium was denied, but they played in an English tournament and lost both games.
1921 – The 1921 Women's Olympiad, held in Monaco, was the first international women's sports event.
1921 – Following the Football Association ban on women's teams on 5 December, the English Ladies' Football Association was formed. A total of 24 teams entered the first competition in the spring of 1922.
1922 – The U.S. Field Hockey Association, the National Governing Body for field hockey in the United States, was established.
1922 – 1922 Women's Olympiad, held in Monaco.
1923 – 1923 Women's Olympiad, held in Monaco.
1923 – First British track and field Championships Championships, followed shortly thereafter by the first American track and field Championships.
1926 – Violet Piercy, an English long-distance runner, was recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations as having set the first women's world best in the marathon on 3 October with a time of 3:40:22.[nb 1] Piercy was reported to have run unofficially, and her mark was set on the Polytechnic Marathon course between Windsor and London.[nb 2]
1927 – Women's Eights Head of the River Races began in London, England, one year after the first men's race.
1931 – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned women from professional baseball in America. He felt that he needed to after a seventeen-year-old pitcher Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell stroked out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.
1932 – The first All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship is won by Dublin
1932 – Brazilian swimmer Maria Lenk became the first South American woman to participate in the Olympic Games, competing in events for breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke. She went on to break two world records in breaststroke events.
1932 – The American Babe Didrikson was named the Associate Press Woman Athlete of the Year for track and field after she scored enough points at the AAU national meet to win the team championship by herself. She scored thirty points, eight points more than the whole second place team earned.
1934 – The inaugural international Women's Test cricket match took place between the England national women's cricket team and the Australia national women's cricket team in December. The following year, the New Zealand national women's cricket team played them.
1941 – It was illegal for women to play soccer in Brazil from 1941 to 1979.
1949 – Sara Christian became the first female NASCAR driver, racing in the inaugural race at Charlotte Speedway, even though she had Bob Flock finish the race. In the second official race at Daytona Beach and Road Course, also in 1949, Christian was joined by Ethel Mobley and Louise Smith, with Mobley finishing ahead of the 3, at 11th.
1949 – The inaugural women's Volleyball World Championship is held in the Soviet Union, three years after the inaugural men's event. It becomes the oldest and most important of all the international volleyball events organised by the FIVB.
1950 – Kathryn Johnston, only twelve years old, was the first girl to play Little League Baseball. She played for the King's Dairy team in Corning, New York. Kathryn played at first base for the season, but then had to stop because of her age (she turned 13.) After that, a rule prohibited girls from playing in Little League; this was in force until 1974.
1951 – Betty Chapman was the first African-American professional softball player.
1953 – The first international women's basketball championship is held, including teams (in order of final standing) from the US, Chile, France, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Switzerland, Paraguay and Cuba.
1953 – Toni Stone, also known by her married name Marcenia Lyle Alberga, was the first of three women to play Negro league baseball, and thus the first woman to play as a regular on an American big-league professional baseball team.
1954 – The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League played its last season.
1955 – The first LPGA championship was held in America.
1965 – The first international women's softball tournament was held in Melbourne, Australia, with the home country beating the US in the final, 1–0.
1966 – The first intercollegiate women's basketball tournament was played in Pennsylvania.
1970s – Italy became the first country with professional women's association football players on a part-time basis.
1971 – The Football Association's ban on women's matches being played on members' grounds was lifted. In the same year, UEFA recommended that the women's game should be taken under the control of the national associations in each country.
1971 – The five-player, full-court game and the thirty-second shot clock was introduced to women's basketball in America.
1971 – The Amateur Athletic Union ruled that "certain women" could take part in marathons, provided they either started their race 10 minutes before or after the men or on a different starting line. The different starting line requirement was dropped in 1972.
1974 – Angela Hernandez (also known as Angela Hernandez Gomez and just Angela), of Spain, won a case in the Spanish Supreme Court allowing women to be bullfighters in Spain; a prohibition against women doing so was put in place in Spain in 1908.
1974 – The Women's Sports Foundation was created by Billie Jean King in America. It is "a charitable educational organization dedicated to increasing the participation of girls and women in sports and fitness and creating an educated public that supports gender equity in sport."
1974 – The first women's professional football league in America (WPFL) kicked off its inaugural season with seven teams.
1974 – Lanny Moss was the first woman to manage a professional men's baseball team in America. She was hired by the minor league Portland Mavericks.
1976 – Krystyna Choynowski-Liskiewicz of Poland was the first woman to sail around the world solo, finishing on March 28.
1976 – In the first Women's Professional Softball World Series Championship the Connecticut Falcons came out on top.
1976 – Nadia Comăneci, at the time a 15-year-old Romanian gymnast, won three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event.
1976 – Women's rowing was added to the Olympic Games programme at a distance of 1000 metres.
1979 – At the Pan-American Games the United States Women's National Team won the gold medal.
1979 – Crystal Fields, only eleven years old, was the first girl to win a baseball Pitch, Hit, and Run competition in America. She competed against all boys in the finals.
1979 – It was illegal for women to play soccer in Brazil from 1941 to 1979.
1982 – Kathy Rude became the first woman to win a professional road race in the United States when she won her class at the 24 Hours of Daytona and later became the first woman to set a lap record at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
1984 – The U.S. Women's softball team won the championship in the first Women's International Cup played in Los Angeles, beating China, 1–0.
1985 – The distance for Women's rowing in the Olympic Games programme was extended to 2000 metres, the distance raced at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and thereafter, consistent with men's rowing events at the Olympics.
1987 – The [American] National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) is an annual day of observance held during the first week of February to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, recognize the influence of sports participation for women and girls, and honor the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.
1988 – The first Henley Women's Regatta took place at Henley-on-Thames in England.
1989 – Julie Croteau was the first woman to play NCAA baseball on first base for Division III St. Mary's (MD) College in America.
1989 – Arantxa Sanchez, 17, became the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam with a 7–6, 3–6, 75 victory over Steffi Graf.
1991 – All new sports applying to be included in the Olympic program were required to feature women's events.
1992 – Manon Rheaume signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, appearing in preseason exhibition games in 1992 and 1993. She spent 5 years in professional minor leagues, playing for a total of seven teams and appearing in 24 games. She also played on the Canada's Women's Ice Hockey Team, winning Gold Medals at the IIHF Women's World Championship in 1992 and 1994, and the Silver Medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
1996 – The first Asian conference on women and sports took place in Manila, the Philippines. Approximately 150 participants from more than 12 Asian nations attended the conference, and discussions culminated in the Manila Declaration on Women and Sport, which declared support for women in sports.
1996 – Spalding Sports introduced the first baseball glove specifically designed to fit a woman's hand.
1999 – Carolina Morace became the first female coach of a men's professional soccer team in Italy, signing a 2-year contract in June.
2000 – Sandra Farmand of Germany won the World Cup snowboard women's cross race, beating France's Marjorie Ray and Austria's Manuela Riegler.
2000 – The Aggressive Skaters Association created the so-called "Fabiola Rule", after Fabiola da Silva, which allowed women to compete in the formerly all-male vert competition.
2005 – The organizers of the New York City Marathon announced they would be rewarding the female champion $130,000, that is $30,000 more than its male winner received. This may be the first time a sporting event ever paid more to a female than a male in the same competition. It is also the largest first prize for any marathon.
2010 – The American Kelly Kulick won the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions, where she was the first-ever female competitor in the field. This also made her the first woman to win any Professional Bowlers Association Tour event that was also open to men.
2012 – The 2012 Summer Olympics in London were the first Games in which women competed in all sports in the program, and every participating country included female athletes. The U.S. Olympic team had more women than men for the first time — 269 female athletes to 261 men.
2012 – Felicity Aston, of Britain, became the first person to ski alone across the Antarctic land-mass using only personal muscle power, as well as the first woman to cross the Antarctic land-mass alone.
2013 – On her fifth attempt and at age 64, the American Diana Nyad was the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage, swimming from Havana to Key West.
2013 – Emily Bell became the first woman to kayak the length of Britain.
2014 – At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Torah Bright, from Australia, became the first woman to qualify for three snowboard disciplines; specifically snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle. The first women competed in ski jumping at the Olympics.
2014 – Shelby Osborne became the first female defensive back in American football when she was drafted by Campbellsville University in Kentucky.
2014 – Gabrielle Augustine pitched the final two innings for Hunter's Inn, thus becoming the first woman to play in the Glenwood Baseball League, which is the longest-running amateur baseball league in the United States, founded in 1920.
2014 – Tara Remington from New Zealand and Angela Madsen from California became the first female pair of rowers to cross the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii; this trip also made Angela Madsen the first paraplegic to row from California to Hawaii.
2014 – Michele A. Roberts was elected as the new Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, thus making her the first woman to be elected to the highest position of a major sport's players association within the United States.
2014 – Andrea Skews became the first woman to complete the Birdsville Track run from Marree, South Australia, to Birdsville, Queensland.
2014 – Nicola Scaife, from Australia, won the first women's hot air balloon world championship, which was held in Poland.
2014 – Kelly Xu, of Santa Monica, Calif., won the girls 7–9 division in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, thus becoming the first female champion ever crowned at Augusta National Golf Club.
2014 – After an announcement on May 31, women competed in medieval combat as a sport for the first time at the International Medieval Combat Federation (IMCF) world championship. American Amy Graham and the women's melee team USA Valkyries (Sandra Lagnese, Karen Prentice, Kati Takacs, Suzanne Lyons Elleraas) won gold medals.
2015 – Mieko Nagaoka, a 100-year-old Japanese woman, became the first centenarian to complete a 1500m swim in a 25-meter pool; specifically, she completed 30 laps of the pool in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 54 seconds, in a masters event in Matsuyama, Japan.
2015 – The first African-Americans to place in the top three spots at the 100 yard freestyle in any Women's Division I NCAA Swimming Championship were: Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, and Natalie Hinds in that order.
2015 – Diane Reid became the first Canadian woman to be appointed as skipper in the world's longest ocean race, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. In the same race, Wendy Tuck became the first Australian woman to be appointed as skipper.
2015 – The World Series of Poker Circuit had its first female main event champion when the American Michelle Chin won the Horseshoe Council Bluffs $1,675 Main Event.
2015 – Kieran Ballard-Tremeer, from South Africa, became the first woman to swim around the Palm Jumeirah; she completed the 14.5 km-distance swim around it in a time of four hours and 28 minutes, swimming inside the breakwater of Palm Jumeirah.
2015 – The first American all-girls national baseball tournament was held.
2015 – New Zealand native Kim Chambers became the first woman to swim the 30-mile stretch between the Farallon Islands and San Francisco.
2015 – Sarah Taylor, from England, became the first woman to play men's grade cricket in Australia, when she appeared as wicketkeeper for Northern Districts against Port Adelaide at Salisbury Oval in South Australia's premier men's competition.
2015 – Afghanistan held its first marathon; among those who ran the entire marathon was one woman, Zainab, age 25, who thus became the first Afghan woman to run in a marathon within her own country.
2015 – Michelle Rowe, from the United Kingdom, became the first woman to walk the length of Malawi.
2015 – The Raleigh Flyers of the American Ultimate Disc League signed the first ever female professional ultimate frisbee player, Jessi Jones, to play in their game against the Nashville Nightwatch. Jones, who was a team USA U-23 player in 2013, was signed as part of "Women's Ultimate Day".
2016 – Kaillie Humphries, from Canada, became the first woman to drive an all-female team against men in a four-person World Cup bobsled race on January 9; her teammates were Cynthia Appiah, Genevieve Thibault and Melissa Lotholz.
2016 – Chan Yuen-ting of Hong Kong became the first woman to coach a men's professional association football (soccer) team to the championship of a nation's top league. The following year, she became the first woman to coach a male football (soccer) club in a top-flight continental competition when she managed a team against Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League.
2017 – In the 2017 season, Jesse Shofner was selected to the roster for the Nashville Nightwatch, which made her the first female player to make a full season American Ultimate Disc League roster. She scored two goals in the Nashville Nightwatch's first game of the 2017 season, making her the first woman to do so in any American Ultimate Disc League game.
2017 – Spain's Alhambra Nievas and Ireland's Joy Neville become the first and second women referees to take charge of men's rugby union internationals when they refereed matches in the Rugby Europe Conference. 
2018 – The first all-female group crossed Antarctica using muscle power alone; they were all British.
2018 – Katie Sarah, from Australia, became the first woman to summit the highest mountain on every continent and the seven highest volcanic peaks, an accomplishment known as the ‘Seven-Seven’.
2020 - Sabrina Ionescu of the United states became the first college basketball player to collect 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds playing for the Oregon Ducks, during her college career at the University of Oregon. 
- The marathon world record progression of the Association of Road Running Statisticians includes Piercy, however, it notes Marie-Louise Ledru of France as the first woman. According to the ARRS, Ledru ran 5:40:xx at the Tour de Paris Marathon held on 29 September 1918.
- A number of sources, including Kathrine Switzer, have reported that the venue for Piercy's mark was the actual Polytechnic Marathon; however, records from the Association of Road Racing Statisticians confirm that the 1926 Polytechnic Marathon was held on 18 May. The course for the Polytechnic Marathon did vary over the years and there is currently very little information available to state exactly which route was run by Piercy. Although the IAAF progression notes the location for her performance as "Chiswick", the Polytechnic Marathon did not end in Chiswick until 1938. Prior to 1933, the Polytechnic Marathon ended at Stamford Bridge in West London. An ESPN reference does note Stamford Bridge as the location where Piercy's run finished.
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