One of Cambridge University’s last women’s only colleges is to accept men from 2021, as its president says there are now “other under-represented groups”.
Lucy Cavendish College, whose alumnae include the actress Dame Judi Dench and the crime writer P.D. James, said its new admissions policy “reflects a clear commitment to widening participation”.
The college was founded in 1965 as a “female academy for women graduates” by three female Cambridge academics who were banned from holding fellowships due to the then rules of the university.
But its new president, Professor Dame Madeleine Atkins, has announced that the College will open its doors to “excellent students from non-traditional backgrounds, regardless of gender” and the minimum entry age of 21 will be abolished.
Given that mature women are no longer “severely under-represented” at Cambridge University, as they were in the 1960s, the College must change its admissions policy to reflect this, she said.
“Women of all ages now have access to all Cambridge colleges as undergraduates, graduates and Fellows,” Dame Madeleine said.
“The demographics of participation in higher education have also changed, and there are now relatively fewer women unable to go to university at 18 or 19, regardless of their background.”