Feminist scholar and activist Lina Eckenstein (1857-1931) was educated in modern and medieval European languages, as well as classical and medieval history. She published on art history, and participated in archaeological excavations in Egypt alongside Flinders Petrie. During the 1880s, while working as a research assistant, translator and proofreader, Eckenstein embarked on her pioneering study of medieval convents. Based on close engagement with medieval textual evidence, but written from a secular, sceptical viewpoint, it was published by Cambridge University Press in 1896. Eckenstein argued, persuasively and with great originality, that religious life allowed medieval women educational and social opportunities similar to those that she and her contemporaries were campaigning for. In her view, the Reformation had seriously restricted women's freedom for several centuries, but she noted that the modern movement for women's education had now arisen in the societies most radically affected by the Protestant reforms.