Readers' reactions

September 24, 1999

Last week in The THES...... Penelope Corfield argued that women's history should become part of a wider gender history June Purvis. Professor of women's and gender history, University of Portsmouth and editor of the journal Women's History Review.

"Gender history" is a problematic term. It implies equal consideration is given to women and men, to cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity. It is naive to assume we can write a fully fledged gender history since not enough is known about women's lives in the past to paint such a picture. Too often gender history is another variation of men's history, peppered with references to "gender" and without reference to the lives of women.

Maureen Meikle. Senior lecturer in history University of Sunderland and co-editor of the forthcoming Women in Scotland, Tuckwell Press.

It is premature to place the evolving field of women's history into a wider study of gender. Much work has been done on women in England, but there is a long way to go to recover the female past in other countries, such as Scotland. Until the history of womenkind has established itself in the histories of many nations, it should not be merged into gender studies, but co-exist with it.

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