Friday, 3 April 2009

Appropriate venue for First Lady's message

I am sure that the name of the school which Michelle Obama visited yesterday was significant. I'd like to think that one of the most well-read president's wives had some input into the choice of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school as the venue for an inspiring speech to a rising generation of women, of all skin colours and many religions. It was an emotional occasion; did I detect a slight tremor in the voice of the First Lady, usually so composed, as she delivered her speech?

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was famously the first woman to qualify in England as a medical practitioner. What is probably less well-known is that her sister Millicent Garrett gave her name (or rather the name of her husband, Liberal MP Henry Fawcett) to a society which still exists to promote the cause of women's rights. An older sister, Louisa, who died young, was also a suffragist and another sister, Agnes Garrett, was a pioneering businesswoman.

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