Friday, June 24, 2011

Caroline Harriet Haslett

From the Irish Times:
THE VITAL ROLE played by domestic technology in allowing for greater gender equality has been widely recognised for some time now. By liberating women from much of the drudgery of domestic chores and extraordinarily labour-intensive tasks such as laundry, these developments were critical in facilitating greater female workforce participation.
A sizeable body of academic work has been written examining the social and economic repercussions of domestic technology. However, it speaks volumes that while the histories of the “domestic industrial revolution” focus on how they altered the lives of the women who used them, we rarely give as much thought to those women who were instrumental in creating such a revolution.

Chief among those was Caroline Harriet Haslett, the pioneering early 20th-century electrical engineer who spent her working life encouraging the adoption of technology in the cause of female emancipation. In many respects, her story foreshadows the sweeping changes in the role of women in society, but as so often with innovators and pioneers, she had to forge her own path with few antecedents to smooth the way.

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