Jane Robinson

Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders

It is a myth that the First World War liberated women.

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 was one of the most significant pieces of legislation in modern Britain. It should have marked a social revolution, opening the doors of the traditional professions to women who had worked so hard during the War, and welcoming them inside as equals.

But what really happened? Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders focuses on the lives of pioneering women forging careers in the fields of medicine, law, academia, architecture, engineering and the church. In her startling study into the public and private worlds of these unsung heroines, Jane Robinson sheds light on their desires and ambitions, and how family and society responded to this emerging class of working women.

This book is written in their honour. Their shared vision, sacrifice and spirited perseverance began a process we have yet to finish. Their experiences raise live questions about equal opportunity, the gender pay gap, the work/life balance – and whether it is possible for women to have it all.

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‘A wonderful celebration of female pioneers’ Sunday Times

‘A crackingly good read’ Telegraph

‘A stirring testament to unsung heroes’ Observer

‘A lesson in how unthinkingly we wear our freedom’ The Times

Jane Robinson is an acclaimed author and public speaker who specialises in social history through women’s eyes.

​Her eleven books include Bluestockings: the Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education, currently in development as a TV drama series; Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote, out in paperback in January 2019, and Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: the Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women, launched on 23 January 2020.

Jane Robinson is an acclaimed author and public speaker who specialises in social history through women’s eyes.

​Her eleven books include Bluestockings: the Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education, currently in development as a TV drama series; Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote, out in paperback in January 2019, and Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: the Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women, launched in January 2020.

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