Women, Higher Education and Equality: The Introduction of Coeducation at Oxford University

About this talk

What was the experience like for the first women in coeducational Oxford? Should we focus on institutional change more than experience? In this talk Florence Smith discusses the changes made to the University in 1974 that made it coeducational and the different ways that historians in the past have tried to grasp this through institutions, rather than through oral history and experience as Florence Smith does. Florence Smith goes on to discuss different ways to get involved in oral history and some tips for further study. This talk will beneficial for those considering History, Politics, English and Sociology.

You can find the talk, as well as some further resources by scrolling down!

Further Resources

In 1972, the New York Times published a news article on the 5 Oxford colleges which were becoming coeducational in 1974. It provides an insightful glimpse into the public opinion of women attaining a higher education, and if single sex colleges were still preferred at this point. By the 1970s many educational institutions had become coeducational, however the change at Oxford and Cambridge was still highly divisive given their long history. You can read the article here for free.

If you want to have a look at the history of women’s educational access in the UK since the medieval period and its evolution over time then we recommend having a look at this article from the Oxford Royale. You can access it by clicking here.

For a more political piece on the state of education inequality on the basis of sex across the world and some of the actions being taken to tackle this as well as the role of technology in reducing this divide then watch this TedTalk by Wanda Bedard. You can access the talk by clicking here.

Florence Smith
Florence Smith

Florence Smith is a DPhil student at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford in History. Florence Smith’s research focuses on the importance of oral history in understanding women’s experiences and the history of individuals. Prior to her DPhil, Florence Smith completed a BA(Hons) in History at the University of Glasgow and an MSt in Modern British History at the University of Oxford.
You can find out more about Florence Smith’s research by clicking here.