Some sur­pris­ing omis­sions

BBC History Magazine - - Letters -

I found your re­cent poll ( 100 Women Who Changed the World, Septem­ber) fas­ci­nat­ing – although I’m kick­ing my­self for not get­ting round to vot­ing.

No doubt, like many oth­ers, my own list would be dif­fer­ent and in a dif­fer­ent or­der. But I am pleased to see sev­eral of my top women on the list in­clud­ing Aphra Behn, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Cather­ine de Medici, Mary Woll­stonecraft and Ada Lovelace. I am also very sur­prised at some omis­sions, in­clud­ing Nancy As­tor (the first fe­male MP to take her seat), Beatrice Rath­bone and sev­eral other fe­male politi­cians and suf­frag­ists.

With the ex­cep­tion of crick­eter Rachael Hey­hoe Flint, I would ex­clude all sportswomen, as their in­clu­sion pan­ders to over-glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of sport. I also find it ex­tra­or­di­nary that Diana, Princess of Wales is on the list. Her in­clu­sion plays up to her pop­u­lar celebrity and vic­tim sta­tus. And on the sub­ject of roy­alty, I find the omis­sion of Queen El­iz­a­beth I ex­tra­or­di­nary. She demon­strated how a woman could tri­umph in a man’s world and dur­ing her reign this coun­try was trans­formed.

An­other glar­ing omis­sion is Beatrix Pot­ter – so much more than a suc­cess­ful and ac­com­plished au­thor, but also a pi­o­neer­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and lead­ing ex­pert on mush­rooms and fungi.

I hope the poll stim­u­lates a lively and con­tin­u­ing de­bate. Mar­i­lyn Lid­di­coat, Corn­wall

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