A funny course for a woman

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In 1996, Rosemary Balmford became the first woman to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. A Funny Course for a Woman is Justice Balmford’s account of her life in Melbourne and the changes that occurred to make the once unthinkable possible, including the elevation of a woman to the highest court in the state. The title derives from the response Balmford received as a law student in the 1950s, when she answered the question: ‘What course are you doing?’ While she did not consider the reply derogatory, perhaps other woman law students would have. Balmford may say that this question labours under a misapprehension upon which she has remarked in John Waugh’s First Principles: The Melbourne Law School 1857–2007, namely that ‘That whole woman thing was really not the big deal it is these days … inside the university it didn’t make any difference’. Or might it be that a different consciousness abounds ‘these days’, because more girls with a range of backgrounds, different from that of Balmford’s, have now begun to enter the academy in larger numbers?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-393
Number of pages3
JournalVictorian Historical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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