Women of Jane Austen’s Time Who Changed Their World

by Brenda S. Cox

“Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.” —Persuasion

Men certainly had many advantages in Jane Austen’s England. For the most part, they held the purse strings. And it was rare that a woman could even have “a room of one’s own.” (More than hundred years later, Virginia Woolf wrote that this was what a woman writer needed.)

Still, many women of the Georgian and Regency eras broke through those restrictions and accomplished great things. This month, which I just learned is Women’s History Month, I’ve reviewed two great books on women of Austen’s England. You’ll find the review in Jane Austen’s World.

Rachel Knowles wrote What Regency Women Did For Us (Pen & Sword 2017). As I wrote in an earlier review, her book introduces outstanding women of faith and women of science.

What Regency Women Did For Us, by Rachel Knowles, tells the story of twelve amazing women of the Regency who impacted the world, including our beloved Jane Austen.

Mike Rendell’s Trailblazing Women of the Georgian Era (Pen & Sword 2018) casts a wider net, over the whole Georgian period. Rendell introduces seventeen women in the categories Arts & Literature; The Scientific World; Business & Commerce; and Reform and Education. Rendell explores the restrictions on women in general, and how women broke through those restrictions in different fields.

Trailblazing Women of the Georgian Era by Mike Rendell adds the stories of seventeen women of the Georgian era, and explains how those women and others overcame society’s restrictions and expectations.

In the Jane Austen’s World post, you’ll meet a fascinating woman of science, Jane Marcet. She made chemistry and other sciences accessible both to young women and to young men who did not have access to traditional education. You’ll also find Hester Bateman, a silversmith who became famous in her own right and ran her family silver-making business for most of her life. And you’ll meet Marie Tussaud, another artist/craftswoman who ran a successful business; millions still visit her wax museums today! (Well, not literally today, but no doubt they will go again when covid restrictions end some day. We hope.)

I recommend both books for your own education and enjoyment this month.

Even today when most restrictions on women have been removed, many of us still feel that we can’t make a difference in the world. But God has given each of us unique gifts, talents, and experiences and called us to share those with other people, who need what we have to offer. How can you make a difference in your world today? 

2 thoughts on “Women of Jane Austen’s Time Who Changed Their World

  1. Thank you once again Brenda for a great blog post! I’m looking forward to digging through the resources you offer.


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