Oxford University admits Women for the 1st time


Oxford University admits Women for the 1st time

Oxford, Oxfordshire The 7th of October 1920 AD

Oxford University would surely wish to be thought of as one of the great founts of liberal thought, yet women were not admitted to membership of the ancient institution until October 7 1920, getting on for two years after women in Britain had finally been given the right to vote .
There had of course been women's colleges established at Oxford in the second half of the 19th century: Somerville, Lady Margaret, St Hugh's, and St Hilda's. And women had graciously been allowed to attend certain lectures, and participate in selected examinations since 1884 . But idiotic prejudices take time to overcome, particularly where tradition and the cosy weight of history are behind them.
Old habits die hard, however. It was not until 1948 that the first female full professor was named, Agnes Headlam-Morley, a fellow of St Hugh's, who became Montague Burton Professor of International Relations in that year.
It is perhaps surprising that the last bastion of single sex membership should be female - St Hilda's only accepting male students from October 2008. But there is one more barrier still to be broken down by women at Oxford - there has yet to be a female Chancellor, in spite of Shirley Williams being hotly tipped by many to take the post in 2003.

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