08 march Woman’s day : Elena Cornaro Piscopia the first woman to graduate in the world

Elena_Piscopia_portrait

Today, March 8 we want to remember the first woman to receive an academic degree from an university:
Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia was born in Venice, in a noble family, June 5, 1646, the fifth daughter of Giovanni Battista Piscopia San Marco procuratore, a lover of literature and the sciences.
House Cornaro was a meeting place for scholars and scientists.
Her father  favored in every way education, at nineteen she took her vows as a Benedictine oblate continuing her studies of philosophy, theology, greek, Latin, Hebrew and Spanish.
The great-grandfather of Helena, Giacomo Alvise, had been linked to Galileo Galilei by a deep friendship; his library, inherited from John the Baptist and attended by Elena for her studies, gathered numerous scientific works inspired Galilean
She is remembered as the first female graduate from University in the world.
Now familiar to scholars of the time, starting from 1669 was welcomed in some of the major academies of the time.
When the father asked that Elena could get a  degree in theology at the University of Padua, Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo was strongly opposed as they believed “a blunder” that a woman could become a “doctor.”
It finally came in 1678: a 32 year Elena gets, finally, his degree.
They granted it to her, though, in philosophy, not theology. She could not, as a woman, exercise teaching.
Six years later she died in Padua for a serious illness.