Document on best practice for making colleges seem accessible for women applicants

This is by no means all that you can do, or necessarily what is appropriate in the context of your college, but through sharing experience and practice across colleges, the following issues were often highlighted:

  1. It seems obvious, but make sure there are lots of women on open days! Several Women’s Officers complained about being a minority on their JCRs, and thus open day volunteers being predominantly male.
  1. Make sure there are lots of pictures of women around college! Again this sounds rather simplistic but the string of pictures of all-male sport teams on the wall might be somewhat off-putting.
  1. Highlight the number of ensuites, and negotiate for better ensuite facilities. One study at Christ’s showed that nine out of ten questions asked about ensuite facilities (on open days) came from women. This is especially worth stressing to the admissions department if your college has problems attracting female applicants.
  1. Discuss the possibility of all-women corridors. Some women may feel much more comfortable with this as a living arrangement: for religious, personal, or any other reasons.
  1. Discuss the facilities on offer in your college: experience shared at Women’s Forum have shown that convenient sanitary disposal facilities have not been secured at all colleges, and this is an absolute necessity. Report this to the Women’s Campaign and to your college if appropriate facilities are not being provided. Also bring up the idea of taxi schemes if your college doesn’t already have one: lots already provide either reimbursement of a percentage of the cost of a taxi if you are coming home at night, or have a pot from which to lend you the money in an emergency.