Why are so many students pooled to single sex colleges?
Why do all-girls colleges accept so many student from the pool? SAMANTHA HUNT investigates.
CU-TV recently published a documentary examining the preconceptions of Cambridge’s all-girls colleges.
See what Cambridge students had to say about the matter below:
Helena Izett was right. Girls from Newnham, New Hall and Lucy Cavendish are too often branded as boring, slutty, lesbians. And everyone seems to assume that if you attend one of the all-girls’ colleges, you must have been pooled. But, whilst these general preconceptions are derogative by their very nature, I wonder if there’s some truth in these claims.
In 2009, New Hall gave offers to 90 students from the Winter Pool, and Newnham to 83. This compares to Pembroke giving just 9 offers to pooled applicants, and King’s giving none. In the same year, 782 people applied to King’s. New Hall’s application figures were roughly half of that.
It is a fact that a higher-than-average number of students get pooled to all-girls’ colleges. But, this is isn’t necessarily a negative thing. In fact, it’s actually really good. It shows that girls prefer co-educational institutions to single-sex colleges. It shows that, one day, all-girls’ colleges may no longer be necessary – that girls can finally learn to feel at home in the previously male-dominated world of university.
These pooling statistics give us some really positive information. Girls want equality outside of the walls of single-sex establishments. Moreover, many girls apply to mixed colleges because they no longer need girls’ colleges for protection – they can hold their own in the co-ed classroom. Long gone are the times of boys intimidating girls in the workplace, and this is really great.
The original reasons behind establishing three single-sex colleges in Cambridge are becoming obsolete. Women have been able to study at every Cambridge college since 1988, and have taken the advantage they had never had before: to study alongside men as their equals.
Today, these reasons still stand. Despite still catering for those who, for cultural, religious, or personal reasons, want to live in a single-sex environment; Newnham, Lucy Cavendish and New Hall have fewer applicants. And this is due to women no longer feeling the need for sexual segregation. After centuries of educational oppression, girls finally feel comfortable in what was previously a male environment. We can finally enter the libraries that Virginia Woolf described as being “closed to (her) gender.”
If Newnham received less applications than the other colleges, this is not derogative against Newnham as a college, but rather a sign of modern progression away from the traditions of a segregated era.
For the moment, however, all-girls’ colleges are necessary. If they weren’t, no one would apply to them. Britian has not reached the stage of absolute gender equality just yet. We are certainly moving in that direction, but cultural and religious differences in society mean that we still need places for women to study alone.
The day when all-girls’ colleges have no applications will be a day signifying a step closer to the end of a gender-apartheid. All of their students will have to be pulled from the pool. Either that, or Cambridge will progress alongside society and invite boys into all of their colleges. I certainly hope so.