The Archives

Welcome to the Women’s Campaign Archives.

The CUSU Women’s Officer was made a full-time role in 1993 when the previous two Women’s Officers resigned stating the impossible scale and difficulty of their task considering the problems faced by women in the University.

Since then, every year there has been a sabbatical Women’s Officer who is part of the main CUSU team as well as in charge of the Women’s Campaign.  We’re one of a very small number of student unions in the UK who have a full-time Women’s rep.

In the archives are minutes from previous women’s campaign meetings spanning back to 2001 as well a look into some of the issues the Women’s Campaign have dealt with over the years.

Here you can find a copy of the women’s union’s ‘case for representation’ from 2001.

1873 – founding of Girton College by Emily Davies and Ann Jemima Clough
1875 – Newnham College firmly established by Millicent Garrett-Fawcett and Henry Sidgwick
1881 – women students given permission to take exams
1887 – unsuccessful campaign for women to be given degrees
1897 – unsuccessful campaign for women to be given degrees, generated 18 months of public debate
1900 – just under 1% of the relevant age group in the UK went to university. 10% of these at Oxbridge were women (compared to 20% at other HE institutions)
1919 – Oxford admits women as full members.
1921 – government report into the state funding of Oxbridge described Cambridge as a ‘men’s university, although of a mixed type’.
1923 – women allowed to attend lectures by right, along with being given permission to receive degrees
1926 – women allowed to be appointed to University posts
1938 – student population of 50,000 across the UK (1.7% of the relevant age

population), 0.5% of these were born to semi-skilled or un-skilled families, 25% were women. Of these women none were working class.

1948 – women were allowed to become members of the University
1954 – Founding of New Hall (now Murray Edwards) a women-only college
1961 – 4.6% of the relevant age group went to university
1965 – founding of the first college open to women and men – University (now Wolfson) College.
– founding of Lucy Cavendish College by women academics.
1967 – 6.7% of the relevant age group went to university
1970 – 33% of the UK student population were women
1970s – in co-ed colleges women only make up c.4% of the college population. The CSU women’s campaign is established to provide support for and by women students. This consisted of three main strands – a consciousness raising group, a reading group of feminist theory, and a weekly lunch meeting where campaigns were planned. These campaigns included the Nursery Action Group and a local offshoot of the national abortion campaign. The group worked with a community-based women’s group, and with Cambridge’s Gay Women’s group and a group called Men Against Sexism. The NAG occupied Senate House in June 1975, prompting the University to finally cave into their demands.
1972 – Churchill College admits women undergraduates.
1973 – King’s College and Clare College admit women undergraduates.
1980 – 12.6% of the relevant age group went to university.  40% of these were women.
1981 – Cambridge University loses the power to restrict the number of female students.
1988 – Magdalene College becomes the final college to relent and admit women students.
1990 – 11% of men and 5.6% of women in the UK have degrees.
1993 – Women’s Officer sabbatical role created