Spinning a yarn for Bluestocking Week

This week (10-14 August) universities around Australia are drawing attention to women’s experiences in higher education. In the past, the term ‘bluestocking’ has been used to refer to educated, intellectual women, sadly sometimes with negative connotations. As a young woman, I’ve often experienced these negative reactions to my intelligence and educational status (I hold a PhD in creative writing). On the other hand, many gorgeous people have supported me to complete and share my experiences gaining a PhD, and to gain a position as lecturer in a regional university in North Queensland.

So for me on a personal level, the notion of the bluestocking women both highlights the difficulties of women in higher education and is a cause for celebration. Bluestocking week draws our attention to the fact that (some) woman have only been allowed to attend university in the last 180 years, while the tradition of men gaining higher education extends back to the Roman times. Yet in that short period of time, women have achieved so much.

This year, the National Tertiary Education Union at the university where I work is asking women to spin a yarn about their experiences as women. This is my story:

We’ll be gathering more stories from women throughout the week. If you have a story to share, please contact me: a.vanluyn@gmail.com


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