New & now
These badass female scholars were the first women to graduate in Malta
This scholastic year marks a major milestone for local women in academia

Caroline Curmi

Back in the day, Maltese society did not cater much for female professional advancement. True, there was work available for teachers, but the mere concept of marriage would have cost them their job. But ambitious women of the time did not retract, and fought back in full badass fashion to be allowed entry within the University of Malta and given the opportunity to graduate.

old uni

University of Malta / Facebook

This October not only marks the 100-year anniversary from the enrolment of University of Malta’s first two female graduates, but today also marks the death anniversary of one of them, Tessie Camilleri, who passed away at age 29 almost 90 years ago.

tessie

University of Malta / Facebook

Tessie had enrolled for a Humanities degree and followed courses in English literature, philosophy and Latin literature. The 2 May 1922 edition of the Daily Malta Chronicle reported that: "Miss Camilleri had greatly distinguished herself in the course of literature, revealing intellectual endowments and attainments of no mean order, and we heartily congratulate her on her well-deserved success which has gained for her the distinction of being the first lady graduate of the University of Malta."

Wirt iz-zejtun

 Wirt iz-Zejtun / Facebook

Blanche Huber, the second female to be admitted to the University of Malta in the same year, was the first Maltese female medical student. Despite successfully graduating six years later in 1925, she never practised as a physician, and instead operated as a pharmacist. Blanche eventually married fellow medical man Dr Joseph Caruana but passed away at the early age of 40. 

tessie camilleri

University of Malta / Facebook

Both women have had their academic and social achievements immortalised through the re-naming of streets. Blanche Huber Street can be found in Sliema while Vjal Tessie Camilleri is a pathway within the University of Malta campus.

2nd October 2019


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

You may also like...
New & now
New & now
‘Rest in peace my dear Bambi, life will never be the same without you.’

Sarah Micallef
New & now

Sarah Micallef
New & now
New & now
It’s great news for fans of the pretty café!

Sarah Micallef
New & now
New & now
Prof. Charmaine Gauci confirmed the numbers in today’s press briefing.

Sarah Micallef