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A lab of one’s own: science & suffrage in the First World War

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Inspired by utopian dreams, H G Wells imagined a future characterized by science, equality and justice; and in 1919, the suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly, ‘The war revolutionised the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free.’ Their optimism was premature. World War I did benefit British women by enabling them to take on traditionally male roles in science, engineering and medicine. But even though some women over 30 gained the right to vote, conventional hierarchies were rapidly re-established after the Armistice. Concentrating mainly on a small group of well-qualified scientific and medical women, marginalized at the time and also in the secondary literature, I review the attitudes they experienced and the work they undertook during and immediately after the War.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Statistics Discussion Group (CSDG) series.

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