The question is what exactly is “relatively recent” for a society of which a significant proportion of its members are thousands of years old, some encroaching, and some beyond ten thousand years. Attitudes on gender class roles have changed significantly since the Third War, but that’s not a very long time ago in the mind of a Human let alone the extended memory of a Kaldorei, and from what I’ve gathered the ridged divide between the classes ended sometime before that. Perhaps someone may yet provide a more definitive time reference, but a scant 10 years seems a short period of time to lose a significant relic like commemorative statues of the first male Priest, and female Druid and the social evolution which they are meant to represent, ( http://www.wowpedia.org/Druid_and_Priest_Statue_Set ), or to evolve what might be considered a more significant (if not anywhere near equitable) proportion of female Druids (and male Priests) we presume the society has today.
For a “young” Kaldorie, the acceptance, if not commonness, of co-education in the Druid and Priest classes, may still be within your lifetime, and while you might not have been exactly encouraged to involve yourself with an otherwise traditionally male dominated art, there would have been nothing but a bit of pig-headedness, or your own aptitude standing in your way. If you are older than that, you may have been one of the women or men (respective to students and teachers in either of the classes) to break with tradition and pave the way for others.
Prior to this social evolution, there may well have been the potential for secret self-education and practice. Surely there were people who felt move by the Grace of Elune, or harkened to the Call of the Wild, those who observed and emulated their daughters, sisters, wives, husbands, brothers, or sons, that sought texts, that were clever enough to draw certain conclusion between the magic that permeated their society and the ways of the world. For this social evolution to occur enough people must have desired to follow these paths, even attempted practicing these paths, for others to realised how pointless prevention based on gender was. Logic dictates that if it had to be “forbidden” then someone was trying it. I’m not suggesting great potency, or being singled out by Cenarius or Elune, but the development of practical magic may still be possible.
Edited by Brandbombe on 12/11/2012 10:57 PM PST