In 1869, when five women enrolled at university for the first time in British history, the average female brain was thought to be 150 grams lighter than a man's. Doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die. When the Cambridge Senate held a vote on whether women students should be allowed official membership of the university, there was a full-scale riot.
Despite the prejudice and the terrible sacrifices they faced, women from all backgrounds persevered and paved the way for the generations who have followed them since. By the 1920s, being an 'undergraduette' was considered quite the fashionable thing; by the 1930s, women were emerging from universities as anything from aviation engineers to professional academics.
Bluestockings tells an inspiring story - of defiance and determination, of colourful eccentricity and at times heartbreaking loneliness, as well as of passionate friendships, midnight cocoa-parties and glorious self-discovery.
©2009 Jane Robinson (P)2010 AudioGo Ltd
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