A pioneer of women’s studies and feminist legal studies in higher education in Britain, Rosemary (Australian by upbringing) is Professor of Law at the University of Reading, where she teaches Property Law and Gender and Law. Before joining Reading she was Associate Director of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, a joint enterprise between the Universities of Westminster, Keele and Kent. Prior to moving into law she wrote widely in the areas of women’s history and children’s literature, including three books: Australia’s Daughters (Sydney: Methuen, 1978), A World of Girls: the Appeal of the Girls’ School Story (London: The Women’s Press, 1992, 2nd ed. 2004) and A World of Women: growing up in the girls’ school story (London: The Women’s Press,1999, 2nd ed. 2008). She co-edited the 2-volume Encyclopaedia of School Stories(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), wrote several entries for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (2006) and, most recently, provided the programme note for a musical called Crush!,based loosely in the school-story tradition, which premiered in September 2015. As well as property law and legal education, her research interests include gender and sexuality – she recently completed a British Academy funded project on dissolution of civil partnerships – and feminist legal history and biography, about which she has written a number of articles on early women law students and women’s campaign to enter the legal professions, as well as several entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) including that of Miss Bebb, who challenged the Law Society’s refusal to admit women in 1913.
Rosemary is delighted to become a Champion of the First 100 Years project. She is currently, with Erika Rackley and about 100 participants, engaged in a collaborative project called the Women’s Legal Landmarks Project, which aims to document landmarks in women’s legal history in book and website formats. Like the First 100 Years Project, it was inspired by the centenary of women’s admission to the legal profession in 1919. While the First 100 Years project aims to capture firsthand experiences, our focus is on recovering the past in a series of scholarly but accessible analyses. We see the projects as complementary and are delighted to be working with others keen to celebrate women’s achievements and struggles in the legal world.