It is International Women’s Day on 8th March and in the year which commemorates the end of the First World War and the Anniversary of The Representation of the People’s Act I thought A Lab of One’s Own by Patricia Fara would be the perfect book to review.A Lab of One’s Own is about science and women’s suffrage during the First World War. It is a superb book and is immensely readable. Women had fought to get into universities but on the whole they were barely tolerated. Their facilities were not as good as their male counterparts and they were not able to attend graduation ceremonies their certificates were sent through the post. Many of the female students belonged to the Suffragette movement, they demonstrated, they were imprisoned and they were force fed. When the First World War broke out they put their demands to one side in order to put their skills towards helping their country fight. Sadly, although many of them were highly qualified, the powers that be refused their help. It wasn’t until they were needed to replace the fighting men that their help was sought. From reading this book it would appear very little has changed in the work place. Women did not receive the same respect as the men they were replacing. If working in the armed forces they invariably were not awarded a rank and they were paid far less than the men. Some women went and fought in other countries in order to help the war effort. These women commanded field hospitals, were surgeons and radiographers in places like Belgium, France and Serbia, they worked in the most horrendous conditions but they battled on serving not only the men from the battlefields but also the local community. I cried when I read that some women are commemorated on the walls of some foreign churches because of the service they rendered and are still remembered today but in their own country they and the amazing and incredibly brave things they did are not recognised. Post war their services were dispensed with because the jobs were taken by the returning men. Once again the women had to fight for recognition in their respective fields. Some of the women Patricia Faro writes about I had heard their names and knew of their work, Marie Stopes, Vera Brittain, Lady Astor, Millicent Fawcett and Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Others I did not know but I was so grateful to learn about them. In the first part of the book the author has done a great deal of scene setting and I was champing at the bit to learn about the women and their work. Be patient as I realised when reading the second part of the book that it did need to be presented in that way. I have only one criticism of this book and it is really an aesthetic thing but it jarred with me. The book’s jacket is excellent and I liked the purple boards in recognition of Suffragette colours but the photographs and documents which illustrate the book I did not find very good quality. I cannot work out if the documents were too fragile to be photographed or if it is just a cost cutting exercise but I think it is a shame. However, it is a little thing and I am being pernickety as I think this is a very important book and I urge you to read it.