WOMEN WHO DEFIED THE ODDS
TEMPLE GRANDIN Temple Grandin is the grande dame of autism. Born in 1947, she was diagnosed in her 40s, but rather than following the medical advice of the time to institutionalise her daughter, Temple’s mother, Eustacia, took a different approach. She explored progressive therapies and private schools to adapt to Temple’s needs, as well as supporting Temple’s interest in agriculture. After noticing how the dairy cows on her aunt’s farm were calmed when held in a squeeze chute during inoculation, at the age of 18 Temple invented a ‘squeeze machine’, into which she put herself to calm down. Faced with criticism over this machine at college, Temple conducted scientific experiments to evaluate its efficacy, widely cited as evidence of her resourcefulness. After graduation in 1966, she earned degrees in human psychology and masters and doctoral degrees in animal science, which led her to redesign the way livestock are managed on farms and slaughterhouses. Her more humane methods are now widely used in the industry. A famous spokesperson on autism, her work and public persona helped break down years of stigma as one of the first adults to publicly disclose that she was autistic.
MILLICENT FAWCETT The peaceful activist Millicent Fawcett was born in 1847 in Aldeburgh, Suffolk in a home which encouraged discussion. She was elected president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage in 1907-1919, which campaigned for the women’s vote, and was instrumental in securing voting rights for women over 30 in 1918. Millicent died in 1929, a year after women were given universal suffrage. The Fawcett Society (named after her), campaigns for gender equality today.