Oxford’s last male-only college to admit women

Oxford’s last male-only college to admit women


St. Benet’s Hall Library – Photo: Wikimedia

After centuries of its male dominated selection process, Oxford have finally announced that their last male-only college will now permit female undergraduates.

In the past week the last boys’ only college at Oxford, St. Benet’s Hall has decided to admit female undergraduates in a bid to modernise itself in terms of equality in education. This ends a gender biased selection process that began two centuries ago in 1879. The decision to admit female students follows the appointment of Louise Richardson as Oxford’s first female vice-chancellor.

Although many consider Oxford becoming fully co-ed an achievement in gender equality in education, Master of St. Benet’s, Professor Jeanrond defended the college, explaining that the lack of accommodation was the reason for not admitting women previously. He claims that it is “self-evident” that the hall should admit both men and women. Jeanrond is a firm believer that tradition whilst good also is something that “you can contribute to”.

Speaking to DNAindia, Prof Jeanrond commented: “Equality is written into the University’s strategic plan and we are now committed to raising the funds needed to make the next move happen.”

In the last twenty years the gap between the number of men and women choosing to pursue undergraduate degrees has widened considerably. Today, there are 57,800 more female entrants to university than male. This is something that is not necessarily true of Oxford which is actually male-dominated, there are even more men than women in terms of researchers and academics than most other institutions.

The lack of female presence in academic bodies is highly prevalent. Among the top 200 world institutions about six of seven have male leaders. But with Oxford finally becoming fully co-ed, gender equality in academia is certainly stepping in the right direction.


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