Student Posts

Moving Beyond Boundaries: Student Perspective

In this post, sixth-form student Katherine Holmes shares her thoughts on the Moving Beyond Boundaries project and women’s history.

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Students were surprised to learn about women’s active role in political reform in the Georgian era. 1819 ©Trustees of the British Museum

The women’s history project during our Personal Development Programme every week has been absolutely brilliant in opening our eyes to such a significant (but mainly unspoken) part of our country’s (and the world’s) history. Our perceptions on the role of women in history is primarily based on stereotypes and uneducated inferences that women have been merely passive witnesses in the building of our current society, and it was only men who really made any impact. A lot of us aim to excuse this by relying on the idea that women had limited opportunity. However, the project has taught us that although this is partly true, women did a lot more than we first assumed. These false assumptions can be argued to be a result of how women are represented on the curriculum, with us knowing lots about influential kings, prime ministers, archbishops, male scientists and authors etc. but little about not only influential women as individuals (e.g. Mary Seacole, Marie Curie etc.), but of the gender as a whole. We were extremely surprised to learn of the Georgian political protesters, as the only thing we are taught about the role of women in politics is the movement of women’s suffrage in the early 1900s, and even then this topic is separated and highlighted as an exception and is only about their fight for equality, not the influence they have had throughout history and how they helped shape society into what it is today. Thank you so much for such a great opportunity to see women’s history from a completely different perspective, and as someone personally wanting to undertake history at university it has provided me with a fantastic experience to talk about on personal statements and interview which is directly relevant to the course.

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