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Response to Review no. 914

It may be conventional to thank the reviewer of your book, but in this case at least my gratitude is both genuine and heartfelt.  This was a meticulous and generous appraisal and I am deeply indebted to Professor Watts for her succinct and thoughtful presentation of my arguments and concerns.  I was particularly interested in her review’s connection of my study with the 1990s, a time when girls’ increasing equality in mathematics examinations led to fears that the examinations were being ‘dumbed down’.  This resonates strongly with similar concerns expressed one hundred years earlier – and reminds me again just how much history can tell us about the present as well as the past.

This is my first book and, as Professor Watts says, I took a somewhat unconventional approach with its structure in interweaving the lives of two women who, despite many similarities, took such contrasting routes with their mathematics. My aim was to better illuminate the social and cultural issues surrounding mathematics, science and gender, and to understand both the limitations and the opportunities arising for women in the decades around 1900. I am gratified that this approach has managed to convince.