LivWiSE is delighted to welcome Patricia Fara to talk about her new book 'A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War' which unearths the forgotten female pioneering suffragists of World War I who bravely changed women's roles in the war and paved the way for today's female scientists.
Many extraordinary female scientists, doctors, and engineers tasted independence and responsibility for the first time during the First World War. How did this happen? Patricia Fara reveals how suffragists, such as Virginia Woolf's sister-in-law, Ray Strachey, had already aligned themselves with scientific and technological progress, and that during the dark years of war they mobilized women to enter conventionally male domains such as science and medicine. Fara tells the stories of women such as: mental health pioneer Isabel Emslie, chemist Martha Whiteley, a co-inventor of tear gas, and botanist Helen Gwynne Vaughan. Women were now carrying out vital research in many aspects of science, but could it last?
Though suffragist Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly that 'the war revolutionised the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free', the outcome was very different.
Fara examines how the bravery of these pioneer women scientists paved the way for today's women scientists.
Patricia lectures in the history of science at Cambridge University, where she is a Fellow of Clare College. She is the President of the British Society for the History of Science (2016-18)