Last Tuesday evening the Senior Bronwyn Society, once again, provided students and parents with an utterly enthralling talk, this time delivered by resident academic Grainne Dennison. The subject (especially suitable for us at an all-girls school) was ‘Blue Stockings’ – the first women to attend Universities. Our attention was captured from the very start, with a moving extract read to us by Grainne, where we learnt of the struggle of working class Oxford student ‘Trixy’. We learnt some truly shocking facts. A leading doctor in the 19th Century believed that women’s brains were actually 13 grams lighter than men’s, and feared that the academic rigor of a University degree would cause their wombs to shrivel up! We learnt how, in spite of popular sexist beliefs such as these, the best efforts of ex-graduates from Oxbridge, and a limited secondary education the women fought not just to be allowed to attend Universities, but to actually graduate with a degree. The talk was truly informative, witty and captivated us all. We now can send off our University applications appreciating the determination and strength of the women who fought for our right to an equal education.
By Vita Unwin and Victoria Bull