Ladies Can't Climb Ladders: Early Adventures of Working Women, the Professional Life and the Glass Ceiling

Ladies Can't Climb Ladders: Early Adventures of Working Women, the Professional Life and the Glass Ceiling

by Jane Robinson


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It is a myth that either of the World Wars liberated women.

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 was one of the most significant pieces of legislation in modern Britain. it marked at once political watershed and a social revolution; the point at which women of 21 and over were recognised in law as being as competent as men. But were they? What actually happened when this bill was passed? This is the story of what happened next.

The Professional Woman focuses on the lives of six women - six pioneers - forging pathsin the fields of medicine, law, academia, architecture, engineering and the church. Robinson's startling study into the public and private lives of these women sheds light not on the desires and ambitions of of her subjects but how family and society responded to the working woman and what their legacy looks like today.

This book is written in their honour. It is a book about live subjects: equal opportunity, the gender pay gap, and whether women can expect, or indeed deserve, to have it at all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857525871
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Publication date: 05/01/2020
Edition description: None
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.19(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jane Robinson is also the author of Hearts and Minds and Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education. She went to Oxford University to study English Language and Literature at Somerville College. She has worked in the antiquarian book trade and as an archivist and is now a full-time writer and lecturer, specializing in social history through women's eyes. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, member of the Society of Authors, and founder member of Writers in Oxford.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Society of Outsiders: First Feet in the Door 7

2 England is a Gentlemen's Club: Women in the Professions before 1919 40

3 Working Girls: The Professional Prospect in 1920 73

4 Biggish Women: The Pioneers 100

5 Those Charming Impostors: The Work-Life Balance, 1919-1928 131

6 Not Quite Nice: Professional Women in the Public Eye 159

7 Dynamite in Curlers: The Work-Life Balance, 1928-1939 185

8 Wives or Workers? Relationships and the Marriage Bar 211

9 Butterfly's Wings with Blue Stockings: Spending-power and Leisure 238

10 Modern Women: The Pioneers' Legacy 264

Chronology 293

Dramatis Personae 297

Notes and References 309

Select Bibliography 323

Acknowledgements 335

Picture Acknowledgements 339

Index 341

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