Pandora's Daughters: The Secret History of Enterprising Women
Constable, 2002 - 222 pages
This enthralling history, full of anecdotes and first-hand accounts, centres on women through the ages who have sidestepped restraint and raised the eyebrows of their contemporaries by choosing to make their own, often highly idiosyncratic, way of life.
The pedigree of the modern career woman is not generally supposed to be long, reaching back only as far as those late-Victorian pioneers who stormed the bastions of male professions. Jane Robinson looks back over some 25 centuries and proves that theory quite wrong. The 100 or so women portrayed here were busy behind the scenes of recorded history, in the cause of earning an honest (or perhaps not) independent living. Their enterprise and flair led them to careers as diverse as they are improbable, ranging from engineers, plumbers and surgeons, to a naval commander in the Persian Wars, a Dark-Age Pope, a successful Orcadian wind-seller, some pirates, a Royal Marine and a stockbroker who ran for President of the United States.
The author considers such achievements against their place and time and the result is a tribute to an inspirational body of women whose significance has too long been ignored, as well as a wonderfully entertaining read.
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