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Kate Pakenham

Photograph of Kate Pakenham

“I grew emboldened by an education which encouraged us to follow our passions and find our own voice.”
Kate Pakenham (1993 English), Theatre Producer

I started school in 1979, aged 4, the same year that Caius first accepted female undergraduates. Until I went to Caius, my education had been entirely in an all-girls environment.  
My secondary school had advised me not to apply to Caius - no-one from my school had ever gone there - and should instead look at the all-female colleges. So it was a surprise to everyone when I received an ABC offer, and pretty daunting to find myself, aged 18, living in the cheek-by-jowl mixed environment of Harvey Court, and being taught in an English faculty run by three men.  

I was struck by the confidence and volume of the majority male voices, both academically and socially, and was I think subliminally, but viscerally, aware of how recently women had been part of the College. The privilege I felt at being part of the changing face of such a historic and beautiful college ultimately overcame my anxieties, and over 3 years, I grew emboldened by an education which encouraged us to follow our passions and find our own voice. I have no doubt that my work as a theatre producer - which often focuses on celebrating and empowering women’s voices - has been profoundly influenced by my time at Caius; and it fills me with hope and joy that Caius is today led by a female Master in Dr Pippa Rogerson.