Hasbeen #9: Beatrix Potter (1866 –1943)
Even if women have always been at the forefront of life sciences, they seldom get credit and only make up a quarter of all scientists. Many have fought and lost, only to pave the way for others, like Beatrix Potter (1866 –1943)
- one of the world's most gifted amateur biologists.
Instead of keeping house as expected she followed her gift and love of nature and applied to the Royal Botanical Gardens. She was, however, rejected because she was a woman. She then made her own pioneering microscopic observations of fungi, drawing them as beautiful works of art, and again got rejected by several institutions like The Royal Society and The Linnean Society* because she was a woman. In the end she put her skills to use in the "Peter Rabbit" books.
Fast-forward to the late 40’s and early 50’s and the future had never looked so bright.TV portrayed ideal families enjoying nature with more leisure time. Women started to educate themselves and revolt against thin waists, perfect smiles and ironed aprons. Nature was considered a way for men and women to meet on more equal terms - whilst camping, fishing and bird watching. During the 50’s nature freed a whole generation of women and gave access to knowledge. But we know that it all started with women like Beatrix.
This collection is made to honor nature and the women biologists and scientists, like Beatrix Potter, that paved the way for us and for future generations showing the world that knowledge about our nature and world is power regardless of gender.
* In 1997 the Linnean Society issued a posthumous apology to Potter for the sexism displayed in its handling of her research