For CLIO's inaugural speech for the round of 20th Anniversary talks, the society had the pleasure of hosting Dr Amy Erickson, a leading historian in the fields of gendered economic, social and legal structures in early modern England, and the history of women's education in the 20th century, in Girton College, Cambridge. Dr. Erickson delved into the past of gender bias in education within Cambridge from the 15th century onwards, culminating in a series of revealing questions about the nature of the gender gap today.
Some of her key takeaways included:
The thrust of Dr Erickon's findings demonstrated a general tendency towards the omission of women from the history of Cambridge, with some of the leading women from the 1900s generally falling below the radar, contrary to male experience. On the nature of education today, she went further by suggesting that efforts to stimulate equitable share of placements in certain forums of education have not actuated in better life experiences, nor translated through the 'pipeline', whereby the realisation of equality is from the feedthrough of more recent generations where equality has been more pronounced. These are not necessarily conscious decisions, with many actions typically being implicit, and subconscious by nature. Overall, Dr Erickson added weight to an already established argument - inequality must be tackled proactively by continued awareness of what some seemingly inoccuous traditions add to the gender divide.