The role of women in our society has changed out of all recognition. But it has changed least in the House of Commons. I want to describe those changes and the resistances to them through the magnifying glass of my own life, a life that coincides with our turbulent post-war history.' Shirley Williams was born to politics. As well as being influenced by her mother, Vera Brittian, her father George Caitlin, a leading political scientist, encouraged his daughter to have high ambitions for herself - including daring to climb the bookshelves in his library. Elected as MP for Hitchin in 1964, she was a member of the Wilson and Callaghan governments and was also the Secretary of State for Education. As one of the 'Gang of Four' Shirley Williams famously broke away from the Labour Party to found the SDP in 1981 and later supported its merger with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. CLIMBING THE BOOKSHELVES is the voice of strong and passionate woman of luminous intelligence.