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Episode 5

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.

Although more and more women graduate during the 1920s and 30s, the Great Depression reinforces the pecking order, prioritising jobs for men. While critics begin to wonder whether academia is breeding white elephants, the bluestockings remain undaunted. While all too many join the teaching profession, others venture down unexplored career paths as diplomats, aviation engineers, writers and lawyers, all paving the way for future generations of bright young women.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Sat 15 Aug 2009 00:30

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