2,000 Balliol women

Friday 28 October

Women on matriculation day at Balliol 2014 (photo: Rob Judges)

We are delighted to report that in Michaelmas Term 2016 the number of female students who have matriculated at Balliol reached 2,000.

Balliol began admitting women to the College as graduates and undergraduates in 1979 (although female graduates have been associated with Balliol since the creation of the Balliol–St Anne’s Graduate Institution in 1967). Since then Balliol women graduates have achieved success in many walks of life. Our most famous alumnae include MPs Yvette Cooper (Balliol 1987) and Charlotte Leslie (1997), former senior police officer Cressida Dick (1979), investment fund manager Nicola Horlick (1979), market strategist and former broadcast journalist Stephanie Flanders (1987); playwright Charlotte Jones (1986), and chemist Clare Grey (1983). Many other Balliol women, but by no means all, are listed here.

In 1979 when women were first admitted, ‘women were less than 10 per cent of the population and all the tutors but one were men,’ recalled Elena Ceva Valla (1979), one of the first to matriculate: ‘I remember trying to talk to other women in the JCR bar, and having to cross a double fence of young men to reach my objective’; but, she continued, ‘I believe men students got over their fear of the “strange animals”, once they realized that we could keep our point in discussions at tutorials and not burst into tears’. In 2016, apart from having many women amongst the Fellows and Lecturers (and Balliol was the first all-male Oxford college to elect a woman Tutorial Fellow), the College admitted 61 men and 45 women as undergraduates; 59 men and 28 women for postgraduate taught courses; and 29 men and 27 women for postgraduate research.