Women’s History

Rape: women’s fault?


Robin Joyce



Placidly reading an Agatha Christie on a day of rain and need for comfort I was swiftly disabused of that notion upon reading the following:

‘…Well we all know what rape is nowadays. Mum tells the girl she has to accuse the young man of rape, even if the young man hasn’t had much chance, with the girl at him all the time to come to the house while mum’s away at work, or dad’s gone on holiday. Doesn’t stop badgering him until she’s forced him to sleep with her . Then, as I say, …

Elizabeth Reid Women’s Advisor to the Australian Government

Gough Whitlam was elected Prime Minister of Australia 2nd December 1972 and was the first Australian Prime Minister to appoint a women’s advisor. Elizabeth Reid was appointed. Following is an interview with her conducted by Emma Renwick.


The Life Of Elizabeth

Elizabeth Reid was the first advisor to a PM on women’s affairs; appointed by Gough Whitlam.
She did an extraordinary job in extraordinary times – but her life both before and after those years has been no less interesting – and she shares it with Emma Renwick.

The actual interview took place over several hours – this is …

Barbara Pym’s The Sweet Dove Died: Sexual Assault Assuaged By Flowers?

Barbara Pym’s The Sweet Dove Died: Sexual Assault assuaged by flowers?

Robin Joyce

Barbara Pym’s novels are a never-ending source of social commentary. The Sweet  Dove Died , in its depiction of sexual assault is of particular interest at the moment. Leonora, perhaps reflecting Pym’s reaction to the mistreatment she endured at the hands of men, allows herself to be drawn into a fantasy in which the assault can be assuaged by the gift of flowers. However, the question arises, why does Leonora accept her situation? Or perhaps, how can she not?

Leonora is the most complex female character …

Being Published – tips for you: insights from writing Women and the Royal Navy

Jo Stanley



Being published –tips for you


My new history book is just out. I’ve got some insights (from this and previous books), and I now see what I should have done ages ago. So I thought it might be useful to share thoughts on the process with WHN members who are yet to be published.

The book is Women and the Royal Navy (IB Tauris/NMRN). It’s a trade book (sometimes called a cross-over book), which means it’s accessible AND written with scholarly rigour. For example I had to find simple ways to say ‘patriarchy’, ‘hegemony’, ‘the gender …

Katrina Lockwood: The Mystery of Isabella an the String of Beads A Woman Doctor In World War 1

Book review by Robin Joyce


Publisher: Loke Press

Author: Katrina Kirkwood

Sold on Amazon and at good bookstores.

The back-cover blurb tells us:

It was the inscription that made the antique scalpels so tantalising: ‘Isabella Stenhouse’. A woman doctor? A woman doctor who was rumoured to have served in the First World War? Could Isabella have treated wounded men with these very implements? And had a grateful German prisoner of war really given her the strange string of beads that tangled round her stethoscope?  Coaxing clues from archives across Europe, Katrina Kirkwood traces Isabella’s route from medical school …