Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Kölbl-Ebert, M. (2021): Ladies with hammers - exploring a social paradox in early nineteenth-century Britain. In: Celebrating 100 Years of Female Fellowship of the Geological Society: Discovering Forgotten Histories, Vol. 506: pp. 55-62

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


In the early nineteenth century, long before the Geological Society of London opened its doors to female members, geology was a fashionable science in Britain. Numerous women collected fossils and minerals, and read or even wrote popular geology books. There was also a considerable number of female helpmates to renowned pioneers of geology, acting as secretaries, draughtswomen, curators and field geologists. Access to a full geological education via universities, public libraries or membership in scientific societies, however, was largely denied to these women, causing considerable frustration. Wherever possible, women interested in geology pressed for changes by enlisting sympathetic husbands to speak on their behalf, by forcing admission to the meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science or by supporting political women's rights movements. They were, however, not the direct pathfinders for the first female members of the Geological Society. Increasing professionalization of geology rendered the female amanuensis of previous decades obsolete and, when university education was opened to women in the late 1870s, the Geological Society saw females as unwelcome competitors. Anti-discrimination laws in the wake of World War I finally forced the conservatives at the Geological Society to admit female fellows.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item