Who was the first female actress?

Margaret Hughes was the first professional female actress.

Females in acting didn't happen for centuries. Young boys played female parts .Margret Hughes is credited with the first professional actress on the British stage.

It's difficult to say who was the first, because the silent films of the Lumiere Brothers in 1895 in France, and the Edison company soon after in the US, showed scenes with both men and women in them. But at the turn of the new century, there was one woman who stood out and became known as the first female movie star: her name was Florence Lawrence In the silent picture era, she became so well known and popular that her name was used in movie publicity; having Florence Lawrence in a film guaranteed that people would come to see it.