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40 years of women at Caius

  • 01 October 2019

Around 300 Caians and their family and friends attended a garden party on Saturday 28 September to celebrate 40 years of women at Caius, marking the start of our year-long programme of commemoration events.

Among the Caians were some of the first women to be admitted to the College in 1979. There were thirty six women in the first intake, but 40 years on over three thousand women have matriculated at Caius. Speaking of this monumental step in the College’s history, Dr Pippa Rogerson said, “Of course the College didn’t crash and burn in 1979 with the admission of women, it’s still a brilliant place to learn, do research, to live and to work.”

This anniversary is a chance to acknowledge the past, which was illustrated by an archive display showing photographs and items from the very first years of women at Caius. Items included a photograph of the first play performed by women at Caius in the Bateman Room in 1979, and a photograph of the ‘Max Factor IV’ – the 1983 Caius Ladies May Boat sponsored by Max Factor.

This milestone is also an opportunity to look ahead. Wandering around the courts today, it soon becomes apparent that women are very much a part of the fabric of the present-day College. In 2019, around half of our incoming cohort will be women, and four out of the six new Fellows are also women. From the moment you step through the College gates, friendly Porters, four of whom are female, greet you. As you look around our beautiful Courts, the names of women are painted on almost every staircase. Women are also well represented in our Choir and Staff. Beyond graduation, Caius women have excelled in areas as diverse as business, media, science, economics, history, maths, medicine and the law.

In December, the Library and Archives will open its doors to College members for an open afternoon that explores women’s connections to Caius. The College will also join in the University’s celebrations of 150 years of women at Cambridge, marked with a line-up of exhibitions, events and displays called The Rising Tide, coordinated by the University Library. We warmly encourage Caians to get involved with the celebrations, to share their memories and historic items with our Archives, and to contribute their vision for the future of the College.

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