THwomen40: Profiles

How do you look back on your time at Trinity Hall?

With affection. It was a historic moment for women and a time of great success for the College itself. Both students and colleagues were a delight (almost all the time!)

Why did you choose to study history?

Medieval history had become a clear interest by the time I was 12 years old. At interview in Oxford I was asked if I’d considered PPE. I didn’t know what it was so said no. Fortunately I was right!

How did your time at Trinity Hall impact on your career?

It was the high point and remains the base for my academic work.

Do you have any advice for other women looking to work in your field?

Have confidence in yourself. I think this advice is less necessary now than it was a generation ago.

Who are your female role models?

The women who taught me at school and my undergraduate DOS and later PhD supervisor. All dedicated and professional women and some inspirational.

What does gender equality mean to you?

To be accepted and respected on equal terms. Much has been achieved, but more remains to be done, especially creating a level playing field for those bearing children.

What is your greatest career or academic achievement to date?

To have been a decent scholar and administrator (though not in the class of the late, great Ernest Frankl) and have made a difference for some of the people for whom I have had responsibility.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

It has all worked out surprisingly well. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks; they often result in something better coming along. Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Is there anything further you would like to add?

I feel I have been unbelievably lucky. The opportunities for women in the University at large, as in the College itself, have expanded enormously during my professional career. I was in the right place at the right time and was fortunate in being elected to possibly the most welcoming College in Cambridge. I discovered that Fellowship really meant something and if there was crisis one could absolutely rely on the support of colleagues.

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