Willa Muir

Willa Muir (1890-1970) was a leading voice in the inclusion of women in university life. As a member of the Women Student’s Debating Society, she regularly and convincingly argued her progressive views on women’s role in society. She rose through the ranks of the society, becoming president in the 1910-1911 academic year. One of the motions carried in her year as chair was “a university training is desirable for women who are not going to take up a profession” which increased women’s vocal desire for education.

Muir contributed significantly to student life in St Andrews. She wrote poems that were printed in the University newspaper, The College Echoes. This paper acted “as a powerful organism of influence which both reflected and formed the opinions and attitudes of the student body.” Later in her career, she held teaching jobs and lecturer positions in the school of Classics. In conjunction with her husband, she wrote and translated many classical documents, contributing significantly to the field and women’s position within it. She jointly translated the works of Franz Kafka into English and wrote her own novels about the lives of women at the time. These works are noted for being particularly progressive in their views as they challenged the traditional notions of domestic and societal roles.