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Women’s colleges of Cambridge University

Cambridge University is home to some 31 colleges, all of which are highly reputable and inspiring.

University of Cambridge


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Cambridge is home to one of the greatest and most prestigious university’s in the world. It is a collegiate university, which means it comprises of university faculties and departments in different academic subjects as well as a number of colleges. Traditionally colleges were segregated into either men’s or women’s colleges, although women were not provided with their own college until 1869 when the first, Girton College, was founded.

Remaining Female Only Colleges of Cambridge University

Girton College

In 1869, Cambridge opened its first female-only college doors (also the first in England), Girton College. Girton was established by Emily Davies, feminist and suffragist, and Barbara Bodichon, educationalist and artist.
Therefore, the college was responsible for pioneering women’s education as well as sexual equality. Girton College was an all female college until 1971.

Newnham College

A few years later, in 1871, another all women’s constituent college was founded in Cambridge. Therefore, it was assigned as the second official all women’s college of the University of Cambridge. Moreover, Newnham College, remains an all women’s college to this day.

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Murray Edwards College

In 1954, another all women’s college was added to the list. Murray Edwards College, was therefore the third college focusing on increasing the proportion of undergraduate women at Cambridge University.
However, all men’s only colleges in Cambridge were turned into a gender mix of female and male undergraduates, with the last to do so being Magdalene College in 1988. Murray Edwards College is one of the few that remains women only.

Lucy Cavendish College

Lastly, in 1965, Lucy Cavendish College was established in Cambridge. Deservedly named after Lucy Cavendish herself, a woman who campaigned for the reform of women’s education.
Lucy Cavendish College was founded by female academics who believed that their university offered few and very restricted options for female students and academics. This is still an all female college currently, however this is set to change in the academic year of 2021, with a planned mixed intake of students.
2020-10-03T16:36:22+01:00 Art and Culture in Cambridge, cambridge, Cambridge Alumni, Cambridge Colleges, Cambrigde University|Comments Off on Women’s colleges of Cambridge University
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