Famous Victorian Women
In the Victorian era, a woman’s place was very much in the home.
Women were unable to travel unless they were extremely wealthy and were brave enough to break out and challenge the status quo.
Victorian women who did choose to travel for adventure or to further a cause certainly did not usually travel alone, but with a husband or family.
Victorian dress was a huge hindrance when travelling as women wore binding corsets, ankle-length skirts and long-sleeved jackets with huge sleeves which were totally impractical for anything other than looking good.
Well-Travelled Victorian Women
Isabella Bird was a noteworthy Victorian travel writer who travelled extensively despite her ill-health.
She initially accompanied her father, a minister in the Church of England, as he rode around his clerical diocese in the English countryside.
Isabella went on to travel alone on horseback through the USA, Japan, China, Korea, Persia and Tibet.
Her travels, writings and experience made her the first woman to belong to the Royal Geological Society.
Gertrude Bell, a noted Victorian traveller, completed two round-the-world trips and even rode side-saddle across the Arabian Desert.
She became an experienced mountaineer and along with T.E. Lawrence, she helped establish the Hashemite administration in Iraq and Jordan.
Victorian Women With a Mission
Another example of famous Victorian women was Harriet Martineau who was a well-educated feminist and world traveller.
Perhaps one of the most famous Victorian women was Florence Nightingale.
Eventually, she trained for three months as a nurse in Germany and became a Superintendent of the Establishment in London’s Harley Street.
When the Crimean War broke out in 1854 she used her knowledge to oversee military hospitals where conditions were deplorable.
Her actions, particularly improving cleanliness in the hospitals, raised survival rates from 60% to 98%.
She went on to found the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at St Thomas Hospital in London.
In a parallel story, Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England but moved with her family to the USA in 1832.
Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the founders of the suffragette movement in England, founded the Women’s Franchise League which promoted rights for women.20th century, her work for women’s rights in Victorian times played a huge contribution towards gaining equality and voting rights for women.