When scientist Rosalind Franklin, who helped discover the structure of DNA, died in 1958 she was largely unknown. A play about her life starring Nicole Kidman is now on in London, but Ms Franklin's sister warns against seeing her as an undervalued victim.
It is 57 years since Jenifer Franklin (now Jenifer Glynn) lost her elder
sister Rosalind to cancer. With interest in Rosalind now so great,
Jenifer has published an intimate memoir of growing up with the bright,
sometimes difficult girl who became an emblem of female attainment in
science and medicine.
"But all her career my sister thought that as a woman scientist she
had to try a bit harder. Undoubtedly she could be hard to get on with
at times. Perhaps she suffered because Crick and Watson were prepared
to go out on a limb - Rosalind wanted to be terribly sure of her facts
before going public.
"I suspect that as a woman she was given less room to experiment and fail. But Rosalind never saw herself as a victim.
want her to be a feminist icon but one has to accept that when she died
in 1958 there were still only the first stirrings of feminism. You
can't rewrite the history of a whole era. But now Rosalind has become a
public figure, in the way we could never have imagined."
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