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Cambridge says No

11 December 2020

December 10th, 1920.

[On the Wednesday, the Cambridge Senate had debated “the question whether or no Cambridge shall remain the one University governed by men for the education of men”, as the Church Times had put it (3 November 1920). “Experience is the only test, and that test is already being applied at Oxford. If it is there found to be a good thing, and in the interests of women as well as of men, no great harm will have been done by Cambridge holding its hand.”]

THE majority of the Senate of the University of Cambridge voted non-placet from a variety of motives. None at this time of day can usefully object to the presence of women in the University, but many were alarmed at the prospect of overcrowding which the admission of women to full membership would entail. We regret that the heads of the women’s colleges in the neighbourhood of Cambridge should be so bitterly opposed to the. idea of a women’s University. “The idea of a University composed exclusively of women is”, says the Principal of Newnham, “really unthinkable.” Does that mean that after all women shrink from the responsibility and risk involved in real equality with men? Men have planned their Universities, moulded their traditions to suit their own peculiar physical and temperamental needs. Are not women capable of a like adventure in days when all will help and none will hinder?

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