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Episode 3

Miriam Margolyes reads from Jane Robinson's account of the pioneering British women who overcame all odds to get a university education.

Women had to wait until 1869 before they could enrol at Cambridge University, and even then the odds were stacked against them. Female brains were considered too small to compete with those of men, and the country's leading doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die.

The glamour of the graduette and bluestocking fashion. As the first few decades of university education for women slip by, the image of the drab, maverick bluestocking has begun to metamorphose into a far more luminous creature, the 'undergraduette'. Suddenly, by the 1920s, women students are quite the thing, and prim bluestocking fashion even takes on a hint of glamour.

Yet, even at Cambridge University in 1920, one item of student fashion is still unavailable to bluestockings. Since they are not permitted to receive degrees, women are still not allowed to wear the university gown.

15 minutes

Last on

Thu 13 Aug 2009 00:30

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