chapter  5
Behind and beyond Women First
Hidden histories and silences in the female tradition
ByStephanie Daniels, Anita Tedder
Pages 21

This chapter explores Sheila Fletcher'sWomen First: The Female Tradition in English Physical Education 1880- 1980, to demonstrate how Fletcher's work became the springboard for a film and inspired a series of new interviews, which have resulted in an expansion of the Bedford Physical Education (BPE) photographic and oral history collections. Laban's analysis of human movement provided her with the basis of her teaching in movement education for children with special needs, and she developed the highly innovative Sherborne Movement. Fletcher highlights her battle for a Physical Education degree at Cambridge during the 1960s, followed by Patricia Bowen-West's challenges in the 1970s to maintain high quality training in Bedford while amalgamating with local colleges. By the turn of the twentieth century, a number of women in Britain had been fighting for emancipation and the freedom to vote, and many women involved in education were part of the suffrage movement.