University of Oxford, Women's education

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Summary

The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England. While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world's second-oldest surviving university. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled northeast to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two "ancient universitie

Details

The University passed a Statute in 1875 allowing its delegates to create examinations for women at roughly undergraduate level. The first four women's colleges were established thanks to the activism of the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (AEW). Lady Margaret Hall (1878) was followed by Somerville College in 1879; the first 21 students from Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall attended lectures in rooms above an Oxford baker's shop. The first two colleges for women were followed by St Hugh's (1886), St Hilda's (1893) and St Anne's College (1952). In the early twentieth-century Oxford and Cambridge were widely perceived to be bastions of male privilege, and it was not until 7 October 1920 that women became eligible for admission as full members of the university and were given the right to take degrees. In 1927 the University's dons created a quota that limited the number of female students to a quarter that of men, a ruling which was not abolished until 1957. However, before the 1970s all Oxford colleges were for men or women only, so that the number of women was effectively limited by the capacity of the women's colleges to admit students. It was not until 1959 that the women's colleges were given full collegiate status.

In 1974, Brasenose, Jesus, Wadham, Hertford and St Catherine's became the first previously all-male colleges to admit women.

In 2008, the last single-sex college, St Hilda's, admitted its first men, meaning all colleges are now co-residential. By 1988, 40% of undergraduates at Oxford were female; the ratio was about 46%:54% in men's favour for the 2012 undergraduate admission.

The detective novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, herself one of the first women to gain an academic degree from Oxford, takes place in a (fictional) women's college at Oxford, and the issue of women's education is central to its plot.

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External Links

  • Wikipedia'The University of Oxford', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford (1954), pp. 1–38

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