In Colombianas en la vanguardia, Lucy M. Cohen attempts to make visible the crucial roles women played in the complex transformations of higher education in Colombia during the last 70 years. Expanding on her earlier work (Las colombianas ante la renovación universitaria, Ediciones Tercer Mundo, 1971) concerning the first female graduates to obtain a professional education in Colombia, Cohen selected 41 women from this group and 34 of their children to produce an ethnohistorical account of how women actively created—and experienced—new opportunities for professional training. Combining personal narratives of women who earned degrees in medicine, dentistry, law, and engineering with variety of written sources (newspapers, government publications, personal archives), Cohen argues that the entrance of women into the university was “a revolutionary phenomenon that affected the society as a whole” (p. xiii).

Specifically, Cohen describes how during the turmoil of...

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