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Title: Higher Education for Women in Great Britain
Author: Sheavyn, Phoebe
Language: English
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MRS. ALICE LORD PARSONS, c/o Bankers Trust Co., New York.


MISS THEODORA BOSANQUET, 66, Avenue Chambers, Vernon Place,
London, W.C.1.


The Council is composed of representatives of each national federation
or association holding membership in the International Federation, in
addition to the four officers elected for the period 1920-22, whose
names are printed above.

The purpose of the Federation is to promote understanding and
friendship between the University women of the nations of the world,
and thereby to further their interests and develop between their
countries sympathy and mutual helpfulness.

The means by which the Federation seeks to realise its aims are: (1)
encouragement and organisation of exchange of lecturers and students
between the Universities; (2) endowment of international scholarships
and fellowships; (3) establishment of club-houses and other centres of
international hospitality in the cities of the world; (4) co-operation
with the national bureaux of international education established in the
various countries.

Contributions towards the endowment of scholarships, the establishment
of club-houses and other branches of the work of the Federation will be
very welcome and should be sent to the Treasurer or to the Secretary.

Further information will be found on the back cover.





PHŒBE SHEAVYN, D. Lit. (Lond.).

_Senior Tutor for Women Students_,

(_University of Manchester_).


1. Introduction.                      p. 3.

2. General Education System.          p. 4.

3. The Universities.                  p. 7.

4. Careers for University Women.      p. 21.

5. Opportunities for Students
   from other Countries.              p. 24.


   The British Federation of University
   Women.                             p. 25.



The International Federation of University Women.



By PHOEBE SHEAVYN, D.Lit. (Lond.),

Senior Tutor for Women Students, University of Manchester.


The movement for the education of girls is of recent growth, dating
back less than a century, to the decade 1840-50. Before that time there
was no public provision for them, educational endowments being used for
boys only. The earliest tangible sign of the progress of the movement
was the foundation in London of Queen's College, Bedford College and
the North London Collegiate School for Girls, and in the provinces of
the Cheltenham Ladies' College. This inaugurated the era of public
secondary education for girls, who now have their large, well-equipped
schools in every town.

At first the education given was necessarily very simple; but as the
schoolgirls of the new age grew up, the need for a more extended
training became apparent. It was met partly by an extension of the
teaching given in certain of the schools; partly by the establishment
of a system of lectures for older girls, notably at Queen's College,
London, and in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. Before long it became
clear that some more systematic higher education must be provided,
and efforts were made to enlist the sympathies of the Universities.
University professors undertook to repeat their lectures for the
benefit of girls; but the number of girls was for some time too few to
finance these schemes, and it was apparent that either their numbers
must be increased by the provision of residence, or expenses must be
reduced by obtaining the admission of girls to the classes held for
men. Both measures were attempted. A residential College for girls
was established at Hitchin (1869), afterwards removed to Girton,
near Cambridge (1873); Newnham Hall (later "College") was founded
in Cambridge in 1871; and in Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall (1878) and
Somerville Hall (later "College") (1879). Before long residence in or
near London was provided by Bedford College, Westfield College, and the
Royal Holloway College at Englefield Green in Surrey.

Meanwhile, a great impetus had been given in 1878 to the higher
education of women throughout England by the opening to them of the
examinations and degrees of the University of London. This University
was at that time purely an examining body, and teaching had to be
provided locally; but the possibility of obtaining the hall-mark of
a University degree greatly increased the number of girls seeking
instruction in the provincial towns, and many institutions gradually
opened their doors, among the first being Owens College, afterwards the
University of Manchester. At Glasgow, Queen Margaret College, availing
itself largely of the services of University lecturers, was founded in

Further advance was marked by the statutory permission given in 1892
to the Scottish Universities, granting them power to admit women to
graduation and to provide for their instruction. And in 1893 the Royal
Charter for the new University of Wales definitely enacted that women
should be eligible for all privileges accorded to men. Every University
incorporated since that date has adopted a similar enactment. The last
two strongholds of masculine privilege, Oxford and Cambridge, held out
for many years. Quite recently, in 1920, Oxford has capitulated with
a whole-hearted grace, which has won for this ancient University the
gratitude of all women. Cambridge alone now still refuses to women the
privilege of membership and graduation, but it cannot be long before
there also admission will be granted. One may safely prophesy that the
completion of the century (1940) will see the admission of women to
full University rights.[1]

[1] Except a few privileges likely for some time to be reserved for men
at Oxford and Cambridge, and certain which cannot legally be bestowed
(_e.g._, scholarships with special trust deeds limiting them to men).


Elementary education is entirely free in public schools, supported
jointly by the State and the Municipal and County Councils. Many of
the good Secondary Schools, moreover, have preparatory departments,
in which fees are charged; and there is a large number of private
Kindergarten and other Preparatory Schools, charging small fees and
offering a mediocre education. Middle-class parents prefer to send
their children to these rather than to the public Elementary Schools,
fearing possible contamination to morals and manners in the latter.

Secondary education in England and Wales is carried on in several
classes of institution.

1. "High Schools," under the management of specially established
  educational corporations, pioneers in secondary education.

2. Endowed Schools—few in number for girls.

3. Municipal or County Schools—some for girls only, others for girls
  and boys. These have usually been started on a lower educational
  level; but they are rapidly improving, and many of them now give an
  education quite equal to that given by the good High Schools which led
  the way.

4. Private Schools; of which some are expensive, and excellently
  equipped and staffed; others expensive and poorly provided, relying
  mainly on their social prestige; others inexpensive and poor.

Many parents of the more wealthy or aristocratic families still entrust
the education of their girls to private governesses, from whom they
require chiefly a knowledge of languages and the usages of polite
society, supplemented, perhaps, by music and painting. The movement
for the more complete education of women has not as yet gained much
strength among those sections of society in which a girl is not
expected to earn her own living.

Teachers of the public schools are for the most part prepared
professionally, after completing their Secondary School course, at
special Training Colleges, supported by State and Municipal grants—in
some cases supplemented by fees from the student. This professional
course for teachers in Elementary Schools covers two years. In a few of
the Universities also, arrangements are made for a two-year course; in
others, however, only teachers for Secondary Schools are now prepared.
These study first for their degree (Bachelor) during three years,
following this up by a fourth year devoted to professional training.
During the whole course the University fees are paid by the State
through the Board of Education, and a substantial grant is made to
the student for maintenance. Many women who could not otherwise meet
the expense of a University career are thus enabled, at the cost of
undertaking to teach for a certain number of years, to pass through the
University practically without expense.

In some Universities, and particularly in those which still offer
a two-year training course for teachers in Elementary Schools, the
"training students" form a class somewhat apart from the others,
regarded as to some extent socially, and perhaps also intellectually,
inferior. In others no distinction whatever exists, except that the
"training" student has to satisfy the fairly stringent regulations of
the Board of Education, in regard to making satisfactory progress year
by year.

Teachers in the preparatory departments of Secondary Schools have
usually received a thorough professional training; but those in the
small private Kindergartens have commonly very meagre qualifications.

In the better schools the education of girls is good, and though there
is cause for complaint as to "overpressure," attention is given to the
physical condition of the pupils; of late, it is becoming customary
to have girls medically examined at school from time to time. Science
and Mathematics are often not as well taught as in boys' and mixed
schools; but the teaching has rapidly improved during the last decade,
and a good deal of practical work is always included. In languages,
much headway has been made and new methods are earnestly followed;
but the general level of linguistic study is still below that in
most continental countries. The general level of Secondary education
is good; but the schools suffer from a multiplicity of external
examinations, for which public opinion compels them to prepare pupils.

The more advanced pupils are prepared for the Entrance Examinations
(usually called Matriculation) of the different Universities, and they
afterwards compete for one of the many scholarships offered by the
local educational authorities or by the Universities. Competition for
these is very keen. Recently an examination of higher standard—for the
"Higher Certificate"—has been instituted by the Board of Education,
preparation for which is regarded as carrying on the school education
to a level comparable with that of the first year at the University.
It is still, however, in an experimental stage, and the amount of
recognition to be awarded by the more conservative Universities is as
yet uncertain.

The Board of Education is the Government Department, which concerns
itself with the education of both boys and girls in all stages. It
maintains an army of Inspectors, men and women, for schools of all
types; it conducts examinations for Secondary Schools; and it makes
arrangements, through Training Colleges founded by various bodies,
for the professional training of teachers for both Elementary and
Secondary Schools. It works for the most part through locally appointed
Education Committees, paying grants to them for all Schools and
Training Colleges under their control. It lays down a scale (or rather
scales) of salaries to be paid to teachers in various types of Public
School. The Board also undertakes, when requested, to inspect and
certify as "efficient" schools privately conducted, but it does not
exercise any supervision over the larger number of such schools. Recent
regulations, raising the salaries of teachers in "State-aided" Schools,
and providing good pensions, are likely to crush out of existence many
of the less efficient of the private schools; some educationalists
fear that even the more efficient may now find it difficult to secure
good teachers; and they hold that in that case, valuable freedom of
initiative in education may be lost to the nation.

The University Training Departments in the larger Universities regard
it as part of their natural function to initiate new and experimental
methods in education; and some of them have special schools established
for the purpose. Excellent pioneer work of the kind is described in the
records of the Fielden School, under the University of Manchester. This
University has established a Faculty of Education, in which one of the
Professors devotes his whole time to the superintendence of the work of
students for the research degree of Master of Education.


_The Government and the Universities._—Universities in Great Britain
enjoy a very considerable amount of freedom; in fact, the curriculum
may be said to be entirely in the hands of the Academic Governing Body
(called in most modern Universities, The Senate, but passing under
various titles in the older Universities). Only such institutions as
are incorporated by a University Charter from Government may grant
degrees, but enactments in matters academic are made by the University
itself, under the constitution as laid down in each Charter. The
Government, through the Board of Education, makes yearly grants to
Universities and Colleges; but it has hitherto refrained from laying
down any stringent conditions as to the precise use made of them.
The amount of the Government grant is however very small as compared
with what is given in other countries, and higher education has to
depend very largely upon endowment by private benefactors, with some
support from municipal grants. The present critical state of national
and private finance, together with the largely increased demand for
higher education, has brought about in all Universities something like
a serious financial crisis—for which at the present moment no adequate
remedy appears.

_Universities and Colleges._—There are no degree-giving Colleges in the
United Kingdom; all degree-giving institutions are called Universities.
Colleges are institutions too much specialised or too incomplete to
be incorporated as Universities in themselves; they may form parts
of a University, or may be independent. There are no degree-giving
institutions for women only, as in the United States.

_List of Universities and Colleges Open to Women._

 _Universities._—Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge (partially open),
   Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield,
   Wales; in Scotland—Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow;
   in Ireland—Belfast, Dublin, the National University.
  (1) Forming part of a University.
   In the University of St. Andrews:—University College, Dundee.
   In the University of Durham:—University College; College of Medicine,
    Armstrong College—both at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
   In the University of London:—Bedford College, University College,
    King's College for Women, East London College, Royal Holloway
    College, Westfield College, London Day Training College, London
    School of Medicine for Women, School of Economics, School of
    Oriental Studies, etc., etc.
   In the University of Manchester:—Municipal College of Technology.
   In the University of Oxford:—Lady Margaret Hall, Somerville College,
    St. Hugh's College, St. Hilda's Hall, Society of Home Students.
   In the University of Wales:—University College of Wales, Aberystwyth;
    University College of North Wales, Bangor; University College of
    South Wales, Cardiff; University College of Swansea.
   In the University of Glasgow:—Queen Margaret College.
   In the National University of Ireland:—University College, Cork;
    University College, Dublin; University College, Galway.
  (2) Independent Colleges.
   Girton College, Newnham College—preparing for the degree examinations
    of Cambridge University.
   The Imperial College of Science and Technology (London)—preparing for
    its own Diplomas.
   Exeter, Nottingham, Reading, Southampton Colleges—preparing for the
    degrees of the (External) University of London.

Where there are various Colleges within the University, it is customary
to make application for admission to the University through the College

Queen Margaret College is the name given to the women's side of the
University of Glasgow; all applications from women for entrance to the
University must be made through the College.

In Cambridge, all women students must be members of either Girton or
Newnham College, and can only receive permission to attend University
lectures or examinations through the College.

In Oxford, the body of Home Students ranks as a College, and has a

The following Universities are ancient foundations:—Cambridge, Oxford,
Durham, Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast (Queen's
College), and Dublin (Trinity College). The other Universities are
grouped together as "Modern." The Scottish Universities, however,
being chiefly non-residential, and situated in large cities, have many
features in common with the modern group.

_Teaching System._—At Oxford and Cambridge the system is a combination
of University, Inter-Collegiate and College lectures, classes and
seminars, with individual teaching. Each undergraduate student is under
the personal guidance of a tutor or director of studies, who plans out
her course of work for term and vacations, supervises her studies,
advises her as to lectures, teaches her, either alone or with others,
and arranges, if necessary, for additional tuition. Great importance
is attached to written work (consisting in Oxford mainly of essays,
in Cambridge in answers to question papers), and to a close personal
relation between teacher and pupil. This system has obvious advantages
to the student, as the tutor has scope for developing individual
capacity, but it makes considerable demands upon the tutor's time.
Science students are admitted to the University laboratories, both in
Cambridge and in Oxford, and in the former University, Natural Science
is one of the subjects most popular and important. Advanced students
obtain advice and supervision in their work from Professors and other

In other Universities, instruction is carried on mainly by means
of lectures; the amount of written work is smaller, and there
is practically no "coaching," either of individuals or of small
groups—except where the number studying a given subject is extremely
small. There is a trend of opinion in favour of the appointment of
Tutors to give general guidance to those wishing for it, but the
expense at present bars any innovation on a large scale in this
direction. Some of the residential Halls provide tutors for their
students. In all scientific subjects a considerable amount of practical
work in the laboratories is required of the student, with more or
less individual guidance from the Demonstrators in charge of the

It is the vice of most of the modern Universities to require attendance
at too large a number of lectures, leaving too little time for study
and thought. And though the evil is readily recognised, and efforts are
made from time to time to reduce the amount of attendance required,
the zeal and autocratic power of the Professor in charge of any given
subject has usually succeeded in defeating them.

In English Universities it is customary to call courses for a
first degree either Honours or Pass Courses. The Honours Course is
specialised—only one subject (say, a language or a science) with a
minimum amount of one or two related subjects. A Pass Course is more
general. Both types of Course cover, as a rule, a period of three
years before the Final Degree Examination; which may, or may not, be
preceded by subsidiary examinations in the earlier years. It is the
rule in most of the Women's Colleges in Cambridge and Oxford that
Honours Examinations only may be prepared for; in other Universities
and Colleges, the women, like the men, can choose between Honours and
Pass. There has been of late years a growing tendency to choose the
more specialised course; it has more prestige, and the Headmistresses
of Girls' Secondary Schools have preferred specialists as teachers.
But there are slight indications that this preference is becoming
less marked; and there may possibly before long be seen a revival of
the demand for a more general education—which is manifestly suited to
certain types of mind.

_Degrees._—The degrees conferred by the Universities are those of
Bachelor, Master, and Doctor. Not all of these degrees, are, however,
conferred in every Faculty. The Course for a Bachelor's degree usually
covers three years[2]; the Master's degree is sometimes (as in Oxford
and Cambridge) conferred for a payment without further examination;
sometimes, as in most of the modern Universities, it requires a further
examination; in Scottish Universities it is the first degree, obtained
after three years' study. Hence this degree connotes a surprising
variety of attainment. The Doctor's degree is in all Universities
awarded only upon the production of original work which can be regarded
as a serious contribution to knowledge.

[2] In Cambridge the examination for the first degree is called the
"Tripos"; in Oxford it is called "Schools."

Recently every University has created a Ph.D. degree, open to
graduates of any approved institution, British or foreign. It is given
for advanced work only, the results of which must be embodied in a
dissertation; and study must have been prosecuted during the greater
part of two (or three) years in the University conferring the degree.
It may be conferred in any Faculty. Many of the other higher degrees,
M.A., M.Sc., B.Litt., etc., etc., are also open to graduates from other
approved institutions.

The Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, holds a special
position among independent Colleges, granting a diploma of its own
which is regarded as equal in standard to a University degree.

_Subjects Studied._—The greater number of women students enter the
Faculty of Arts, but large numbers also enter for Science and for
Medicine; a few for Commerce, Technology, Law, etc. The study of
Medicine can now be carried on under the same conditions as for men in
practically all the modern Universities. In some, however, situated
in comparatively small towns, the clinical facilities are inadequate,
and it is customary to continue clinical study in one of the larger
Medical Schools, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, or Manchester.
Edinburgh, with a long-established prestige in medicine, attracts large
numbers of students. Tradition inherited from early days of controversy
has long limited the opportunities of women in Edinburgh, but a more
liberal policy now admits them to substantial privileges.

In London, the position of medical study is peculiar. It is mainly
in the hands of ancient Medical Schools, each with its own large
Hospital—Bartholomew's, St. George's, Guy's, St. Thomas's, Westminster,
etc.—out of which, in fact, the Teaching School has developed. These
great Medical Schools followed the policy of the University of
Edinburgh, opposing to the admission of women such relentless hostility
that eventually the women had to create and finance a separate school.
Thus came into being the London School of Medicine for Women, which
succeeded in making a working arrangement for clinical instruction at
the Royal Free Hospital. Though women are now admitted to the Medical
Schools of University and King's Colleges, and the Charing Cross
Hospital, most of the great Hospital Medical Schools are still closed
to them, and the London School of Medicine for Women remains the chief
centre for the medical education of women in London.

Pharmacy is taught at most of the Universities, but all pharmacists
must prepare, at the Universities or in special schools, for
examinations held by an outside body—the Pharmaceutical Society.
Degrees in Dentistry are conferred by some Universities, and an
excellent training is provided, but the profession of Dentistry is
still unregulated by the State, and unqualified persons freely
practise. This makes Dentistry less popular as a profession among
persons of University education; but there is a great field for
qualified dentists, and women would do well to enter upon it in larger

Languages studied at the Universities are Greek, Latin, French, German,
Oriental languages, and more recently, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.
The teaching in modern languages is carried on partly by native,
partly by foreign lecturers; except in Oriental languages, which are
practically always taught by Englishmen. There is a tendency observable
at present in the Secondary Schools, and in the Universities, to give
less attention than hitherto to Greek and Latin.

Faculties of Commerce have been established in the great civic
Universities of Birmingham and Manchester, and recently in London;
Leeds and Liverpool also give teaching in Commerce. Economics is a
subject of study—sometimes the subject of an Honours Schools—in most
of the Universities. The London School of Economics has unrivalled
facilities for research and advanced study.

In the Fine Arts there is practically no University study. Throughout
the country there are Schools of Music, some of which are recognised,
as in London and Manchester, as institutions affiliated to the
University; but none of them are mainly under University control.
The Schools of Art existing in many of the larger cities are also
self-governing institutions. A movement has been set on foot for
bringing some of these into closer connection with the Universities,
and the Slade Art School in London is closely connected with University
College; but on the whole very little progress has yet been recorded.
The nearest approach to recognition of the existence of the Fine Arts
(outside the Slade School), is the establishment of Schools of Art and
Architecture in the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester, but these
are concerned very largely with Architecture rather than with the Fine

The study of Law in England is carried on to some extent in the
Universities, many of which have Faculties of Law; but the examinations
which admit to practice as Barristers are controlled by the Council of
Legal Education (established by four ancient foundations, the Inns of
Court in London), and those admitting Solicitors are held by the Law
Society. Preparation for these examinations is mainly post-graduate,
and must, in part at least, be carried on in the Inns of Court or under
the Law Society. Colonial and foreign students may, under certain
conditions, be admitted. The admission of women is of very recent date.
No woman has as yet quite completed all the formalities entitling her
to be "called to the Bar"—that is, to be recognised as qualified to
plead before the Courts; but a considerable number are now engaged in
preparing for the profession, as solicitors or barristers.

The study of Agriculture, Horticulture and kindred subjects is provided
for in nearly all the Universities, which maintain their own practical
and experimental farms. It is, however, more usual to pursue these
studies in various independent colleges, where practical work plays
a larger part than scientific training. For women there are, among
others, Horticultural Colleges at Swanley and at Studley, and the
Edinburgh School of Gardening for Women. These colleges for the most
part prepare pupils for the examinations of the Royal Horticultural
Society. The University College of Reading makes special provision for
education in Horticulture and Agriculture, which is rendered valuable
by close co-operation with the Department of Science; and the College
awards its own Diploma.

Physical Culture.—Very little attention is at present paid by
University authorities to physical training and education, no
University giving a professional training in physical culture.
For women a number of independent Colleges provide full courses
of instruction suited to prepare teachers in the subject; for men
teachers there is practically no provision. Any systematic teaching
in gymnasium exercise is usually given to men by ex-Army instructors;
coaching in games (football, cricket, rowing, etc.), is given by
special experts. For a nation which, unofficially, attaches immense
importance to physical "fitness" and to athletic games, the neglect of
scientific study of the subject, and the absence of official provision
for systematic exercise, is astonishing. Universities and Colleges for
the most part limit themselves to supporting financially the provision
of gymnasium and athletic grounds, where such students as desire if
may indulge in open-air games or indoor exercise. In the residential
Universities the early part of the afternoon is by common consent left
free for recreation; but in the great civic Universities, for the most
part non-residential, this is rendered impossible by the necessity
for freeing the later afternoon for the return journey of students
from a distance. As a result, large numbers of students never take
any recreative exercise; and for all of them the possibilities are
extremely limited. In these civic Universities, moreover, the athletic
grounds are nearly all inevitably situated at a considerable distance
from the University buildings. In these circumstances, opportunities
for playing games are practically limited to "match teams," the chief
game played by women being hockey. The part of the average student is
therefore mainly that of an onlooker, and this is likely to continue
so, unless the Universities should decide to take more full official
direction of the physical development of their students. There are
signs of a movement towards this; but the difficulties are great,
and very little has been achieved. The Board of Education has set an
example by insisting that all students training to be teachers, at
the Universities or elsewhere, shall take a minimum of some form of
physical exercise.

Social Science.—Several Universities carry on Departments (or Schools)
for the study of Social Science, usually in close connection with
University Settlements and with such organisations for charity and
relief as exist in the district. Women enter these "Schools" in
some number; since there are many openings for them as organising
secretaries, and some few as investigators into social conditions.
Birmingham, Glasgow, and Liverpool are good centres for this study; and
the London School of Economics offers an excellent training in methods
of research.

Household Economics.—Very little has as yet been done by the
Universities for this subject of study. Most of the large cities
support Municipal Schools of Domestic Economy; but these are
unconnected with the Universities, and give a training which is purely
practical. It is much to be desired that encouragement should be given
to a more scientific study of questions of nutrition and diet, and
methods of institutional management. The only institution of University
rank concerning itself with this study is King's College for Women
(Household and Social Science Department), London.

The study of Education has already been discussed.

_Sessions and Terms._—The whole period of study in any given year
is called a Session, and the session usually consists of three
terms—Michaelmas, Lent, and Easter (or Summer)—each of about ten or
eleven weeks. In Cambridge, however, the terms are about nine weeks
each, and in Oxford, eight. Terms in Faculties of Medicine (and
Dentistry) are often longer than in other Faculties; and in Scotland,
some Faculties still adhere to the old plan of two terms. The session
begins in October.

There are vacations at Christmas and at Easter, dividing the terms, and
varying in length from a fortnight to four or five weeks. In the Long
Vacation (July to September) there is no systematic instruction for the
ordinary University student, though from time to time "summer schools"
are held for students from outside, more especially in Universities
situated in an attractive environment. In Cambridge there is also a
Long Vacation term, during which tuition is given, without lectures, to
those University students who desire it.

Lectures are usually given and laboratory work done in the morning and
afternoon; in Faculties of Commerce there are also evening lectures.

_Women on the Staff._—In spite of the fact that, nominally at least,
professorial appointments have now been open to women for a good many
years, very few women professors have as yet been appointed. There are
two or three in Departments of Education; women have quite recently
been appointed to professorial chairs in French and Italian; and the
National University of Ireland has appointed one or two women. Oxford,
opened to women only in 1920, has already a woman as Acting-Professor
of French. But the number of women professors is still disappointingly
few; and it is difficult to say whether the chief cause is lack of
applications from women or prejudice on the part of appointing bodies;
both causes undoubtedly operate.

Women lecturers are not so rare, though their numbers are still
comparatively small. They are most numerous in Education, but are
appointed also in other Faculties, salaries being the same as for
men. The main avenue to University teaching for women lies through
the Colleges for women only, where they, of course, form the entire
residential staff; the tutorial system of Cambridge and Oxford thus
affords employment in higher teaching to a considerable number
of women. Further, the residential Halls attached to the mixed
Universities provide posts of responsibility and prestige for a
considerable number of educated women as Wardens or Principals. The
recognition accorded to these officials by the University itself is,
however, not always entirely satisfactory.

Upon the whole, the present position of women upon the staffs of the
Universities and Colleges is one of comparative subordination. Very
few occupy senior posts of importance and prestige. Except in the
Women's Colleges, the higher direction of the teaching and the general
administration are still almost wholly in the hands of men; and this is
the case even where, as in Wales, the number of men and women students
is fairly equal.

On account of the comparative scarcity of women in senior positions,
it is usual in most non-residential Colleges and Universities to
employ some senior woman as a member of the administrative staff,
charged with the duty of superintending the general welfare of the
women students.[3] Her status and duties vary greatly—from those of
a mere chaperon to those of a Senior authority, consulted in all
matters concerning women students individually and collectively, and
responsible for making representations as to any matter, academic or
social, affecting them. It is partially realised that women students,
having often received a different education from that given to boys and
having the prospect of other careers and other spheres of work, may be
specially affected by academic legislation; and in matters of building
and equipment their needs are always to some extent special. The most
enlightened Universities and Colleges therefore afford considerable
powers and status to this woman official (who is known by various
titles—Dean, Senior Tutor, Censor, etc). In residential Universities
the Heads of the Women's Colleges have the necessary academic
information, official status, and knowledge of their students' needs.

[3] There are, however, some eight or nine exceptions. The Association
of Head Mistresses has asked that some such official shall be appointed
wherever there are women students.

_Residence._—All Universities and Colleges (except the University
of London on its external side) require students to live in the
district and to receive instruction or guidance in the institution
itself. Certain Universities and Colleges also require all students
to be members of organised bodies, for the most part resident in
Colleges or Halls.[4] This is the case in Cambridge and in Oxford.
In London, Bedford, Holloway, and Westfield Colleges are largely or
mainly residential. The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth,
is, for women, entirely residential; and the University College of
Reading requires both men and women to live in Halls. All the other
Universities (except Aberdeen) have Halls, large or small, for women
students, but do not compel residence. Lists of Halls can be obtained
from the University prospectuses; and applications for residence (as
distinct from entrance to the University) should be made direct to
the various Wardens or Principals. The demand for accommodation is
everywhere very great; and it is practically impossible to secure
admission unless application is made at least a year in advance. It is
usually a great additional benefit for foreign students to reside in a
Hall; and every effort should be made to secure provisional acceptance

[4] In regard to the meaning the terms 'College' and 'Hall,' it may
be said that (except in Oxford) the 'Hall' provides residence only;
the 'College' provides teaching, and arranges for admission into the
University, while it may, or may not, also provide residence.

_Discipline_ varies from one University to another—from the
comparatively strict discipline necessitated in old Universities with a
long tradition of obedience and convention; or in smaller Universities
which are the centre of interest in small towns such as Reading and
Aberystwyth; to the freedom of the great civic University, compelled
to accord almost complete social liberty to the large numbers of men
and women living in their own homes; and comfortably sheltered from
censorious criticism among the many more exciting attractions existing
in every great city. In some Universities men and women students may
not converse together in the streets; in others they may freely meet,
walk, take meals, and study together.

In all Universities and Colleges there is much _Social Intercourse_ and
gaiety. Dancing is very frequent; dramatic performances, debates (for
one sex only, or mixed) are common; and almost every Honours School
or Department has its Society for the encouragement of its special
subject, and the promotion of social intercourse among its members.
Even in Oxford and Cambridge some of these Societies include both men
and women.

Residential Colleges and Halls usually provide "Common" (or
"Combination") Rooms where staff or students can meet each other; and
the mixed Universities set apart rooms, usually separate for men and
for women, for the hours of the day not devoted to study. These may
be simply sitting-rooms with restaurant attached, as in the smaller
institutions, or may be, in the more established modern Universities,
large, well-furnished Union Buildings or club-houses, as provided in
Edinburgh, Liverpool, or Manchester. The management of these Unions,
as to both finance and discipline, is usually in the hands of the
students themselves. In no University, however, does the _accommodation
for women_ compare in dignity, commodiousness, or spaciousness with
that provided in many American institutions. With the exception of
some of the oldest Universities, where the provision for men is ample
and beautiful, University and College buildings in Great Britain
are upon a wholly different scale from those in the United States.
While laboratories are often excellently equipped, libraries and
lecture-rooms are not infrequently inadequate, and the provision for
recreation, physical well-being, and social intercourse is sometimes
seriously wanting. Nothing exists in our modern Universities at all
comparable with the magnificent buildings, the extensive grounds,
woods and lakes, the immense gymnasiums and swimming baths, provided
for women students in the United States. And in the older of our civic
Universities, the cramped conditions of existence in the midst of an
immense city are responsible for the absence of many social amenities.
In the smaller, younger Universities an attempt is being made to secure
more space for future development before it is too late; but the
standards even there are far below those known in the United States.
English girls of aristocratic or wealthy parentage do not as yet go to
the University in large numbers; most of the students come from homes
of limited means, and their demands, except in the matter of education
pure and simple, are modest. At the same time, one never hears of
students, as in American Colleges, paying their expenses by giving
personal service; it would, in fact, be very difficult for the average
student to spare sufficient time from her studies, which are exacting
enough to leave her only the minimum amount of leisure essential for

_Finance_ is a matter for serious concern in our Universities,
largely dependent as they are upon small public grants and private
benefactions; and in Women's Colleges and Halls this question is still
more pressing. It should be remembered that the numbers in our Women's
Colleges are small; all the five Women's Colleges together in Oxford
do not number 700 students. Moreover, though the generous benefactor
exists in this country, his gifts are on a comparatively modest scale,
and institutions specially for women do not attract the largest.

_Libraries._—The most complete collections of books are those of
the privileged libraries, the British Museum Library, the Bodleian
(Oxford), the Cambridge University Library, the Advocates' Library
(Edinburgh), the Trinity College Library (Dublin), and, more recently,
the National Library of Wales. Each of these is privileged to receive a
copy of every book published in Great Britain. Other valuable libraries
are those of the London School of Economics, and the School of Oriental
Studies (London). In Manchester a rich storehouse of early printed
books, mediaeval manuscripts, and general literature is provided by the
lavishly endowed John Rylands Library, the ancient Chetham Library, the
University (Christie) Library, and the Municipal Reference Library.

_Expenses._—University education in Great Britain is not free, as in
some countries; although in the case of a certain number of students,
Government grants or local scholarships cover the expenses more or
less completely. It is extremely difficult to give any figures as to
the cost of a University training, on account of the great difference
in the fees and the general absence of any inclusive charge. It is,
moreover, to be noted that, where the University includes several
Colleges, there are often both College fees and University fees. The
fees for residence in College, again, may or may not include also the
fees for tuition and lectures. Life at Cambridge is, for women, rather
more expensive than in other Universities; but in Oxford it is less
expensive to be a member of the Society of Home Students than to reside
in a College, and in Cambridge the small number of older students
permitted by the Colleges to be "out-students" can live more cheaply.
Again, the extreme brevity of the terms in Cambridge and Oxford entails
heavy vacation expenses for the foreign student.

At Oxford and Cambridge the cost of board, lodging and tuition for the
session, consisting of three terms of eight to nine weeks each, varies
from £135 to £150.

Next in order of expense comes London, where the fees for residence in
College, apart from tuition, are £90 to £100. In the larger University
cities of England, residence costs about £70; in the smaller places, in
Wales and in Scotland, it is lower (£40 to £50).

Where the fees for guidance or tuition in advanced work are charged
separately from those for residence, they vary from £5 to £15 in the
Faculty of Arts; in the Faculty of Science they usually depend on the
nature of the practical work involved. For the examination of these the
charge may be from £5 to £10, and for the conferment of the degree from
£5 to £20.


Most of the women students in British Universities are intending to
earn their living; the exceptions being a few at Oxford and Cambridge.
The careers most fully open to them are teaching and medicine, for
which full professional training is provided in the Universities. A
large army of women graduates is employed in the Secondary Schools, and
many women doctors hold positions in hospitals, especially in those for
women and children, or carry on private practice. Pharmacy is chosen
as an occupation by many women, and in dentistry there is plenty of
room—though very few women enter upon it.

Students showing marked talent fairly often obtain grants enabling
them to prosecute research for a year or two; a few private commercial
firms employ research workers and occasionally engage a woman; but
the opportunities of this kind are comparatively rare. A certain
number of women in practically every University now hold positions
as Demonstrators in laboratories, or as Assistant Lecturers or
Lecturers; a very few are Professors. Some are employed as lecturers
under organisations for extending advanced teaching outside the

[5] Such are the Workers' Educational Association, and the various
University Extension Schemes.

In the Civil Service (which is the general name for the various
departments of work under the Government), University women are
employed in some numbers under the Board of Education, the Home
Office, the Ministry of Health and the Local Government Board, as
Inspectors and Medical Officers. The Ministry of Labour and the Post
Office, while employing large numbers of women, offer very few posts
suitable for University graduates. During the war many women held in
Government offices positions of importance and responsibility; but
most of them have now been dispensed with under the plea of economy,
or of providing employment for discharged soldiers. A very few of
these women, however, still retain their posts, and there is a fairly
powerful movement for opening the higher positions in the Civil Service
to women. Hitherto all women employed have been engaged by individual
selection; it is now proposed that after three years from 1921, they
shall be eligible to compete for posts in the same examinations as men,
though power is to be retained to appoint to any given post either a
man or a woman, as may seem best, from among the successful candidates.
It remains to be seen to what extent this provision may be used to
nullify the chances of women. There is powerful opposition in many
Government departments; but the Treasury is said to be favourable to
the gradual introduction of women in higher administrative positions.
At present, such openings for them are few. It is not at present even
proposed to open to them positions in diplomacy or in the consulate.

A considerable number of educated women find administrative positions
as Heads of University Colleges, Halls of Residence, and Training
Colleges for Teachers. Some of the older Training Colleges are still
presided over by men as Principals; but it is the policy of the Board
of Education to replace these upon retirement by women. All Heads and
Assistants in Elementary and Secondary Schools for girls only are
women; but in schools open to both boys and girls, it is customary to
appoint a man as Head, with or without a senior woman in special charge
of the girls. In Scotland it is still common for a girls' school to
have a Headmaster.

Secretarial work is a career coveted by many University graduates
unwilling to enter upon the occupation of teaching. The Universities
do not, however, provide a professional training for this; nor are the
openings suited for University women very numerous. Some occasionally
find congenial posts as foreign correspondents in banks and commercial
firms; many become organising secretaries for philanthropic or
kindred organisations; a favoured few become private secretaries to
literary, scientific, or political personages. The demand, however, for
secretaries of University education is not at this moment equal to the

The Church offers at present very little scope for women: except in one
or two of the free sects, the ministry is not open to them. The Law
has only within the last year or two been opened to them.

Librarianship offers a very limited number of opportunities. Some
College and University libraries employ a few women in comparatively
subordinate positions; the ordinary City Library does not offer any
opening to women of University education. An attempt has recently been
made to provide a professional training for Librarians, following the
example set long ago by the United States; but for women the prospects
seem at present precarious.

Home Economics and Domestic Science being (with the exception noted
above) still outside the purview of the Universities, practically no
University women are qualified to undertake posts either as teachers
or as practical workers in this sphere. There is, however, a very
large demand for highly qualified Institutional Managers, Matrons,
Superintendents, etc., and good salaries can be earned in such
positions. It is to be hoped that with the return of better financial
prospects in the Universities, advanced training in work of this kind,
eminently suitable for educated women, may be undertaken.

It will be seen that, though many careers are open to University women,
the prizes are few; and in very many of these careers the openings
are so rare, or the initial income offered so low, that only those
who are adventurous or independent financially, can afford to run the
risk involved in choosing them. By far the most usual occupation for
them, apart from medicine, is the profession of teaching; although it
is now by no means, as at one time, the only avenue open. During the
war, women teachers entered boys' schools in considerable numbers, but,
except for quite young boys, few of these are now retained. Upon the
whole, the outlook is discouraging to those who looked for a permanent
increase in the number of openings for women as a result of women's
varied services in the war. Only a few positions of importance have
been retained, and throughout the whole field of labour women have lost
the greater part of the advance made. All that seems to be definitely
gained at present is the breaking down of the bar of absolute


Women students wishing to enter any University in Great Britain
should have complete command of the English language, since this is
pre-supposed in all University studies. In none of the Universities is
any course arranged specially for foreign students (though occasionally
summer schools suitable for foreigners are held); but, provided they
can pass the Entrance Examinations, foreigners are accepted as students
in the ordinary courses. It is not, however, as a rule very practicable
for a foreigner to pass one of these Entrance Examinations—planned
as they are for British boys and girls leaving school. By far the
best plan is to study first at a home University and resort to this
country only for post-graduate work. The student should forward to the
proper authority (usually the Registrar) an application for admission
giving full information as to her previous University studies, with
examinations passed, etc.; and each application is usually considered
entirely upon its merits. As a rule, any candidate who can give proof
of having attained a standard equivalent to that of the first degree
examination may hope for admission without further test. The studies
of all such post-graduate students are directed individually by the
Professor of the subject concerned; and it is advisable to communicate
with him before actually applying for admission to the College or
University. The most suitable degree for such students to work for is
the Ph.D., open in any Faculty. Nearly all Universities publish special
prospectuses giving details as to the facilities provided for research
and advanced work.

_Scholarships and Fellowships._—There is only one Fellowship
definitely set aside to be awarded to foreign students—the John W.
Garrett International Fellowship in Bacteriology, offered by the
University of Liverpool to students from the United States or other
foreign countries. In several Universities, however, scholarships and
fellowships exist which are not limited to students in Great Britain;
and particulars of these can be obtained from their Scholarship
Prospectuses. Candidates from other countries must, however, produce
ample proof of their qualifications, and are probably at some
disadvantage unless they have studied under professors of world-wide
reputation. In many of the Universities there are endowments for
research open to persons, whether British born or not, who have already
begun work at the University in question.




Professor Caroline Spurgeon, Doc. Univ. Paris, Hon. Litt.D. (Michigan).

The British Federation of University Women was formed in 1910, for the
purpose of furthering the interests of University women.

_Aims of the Federation._

  1. To create an organisation which shall represent University women in
  _all_ professions, and enable them to take concerted action on matters
  affecting their interests in public and private life.

  2. To promote co-operation between the University women of Great
  Britain, and to stimulate friendship between University women
  throughout the world.

  3. To encourage independent research work by University women.

  4. To stimulate the interest of University women in municipal and
  public life.

  5. To keep a Register of University women and to notify them of
  suitable appointments.


The British Federation is composed of Local Associations of University
women, the country being divided for this purpose into areas around
different large centres. Local Associations have been formed in
eleven areas, the centre in each case being a University town. Twenty
members is the minimum required to form a Local Association. These
Associations are free to adopt any objects which are in accord with the
"Aims of the Federation."


Membership is restricted to women who hold a University degree or
its equivalent. Registered medical women or registered dentists are
qualified for membership.

In addition to regular members the Federation admits as associates,
in certain cases, women who have studied for not less than two years
regularly at a University. Students in their last year may be admitted
as temporary associates, at the discretion of the Local Association, on
the understanding that they become members after taking their degree.

Women who have not studied at a University, but who have advanced the
higher education and the interests of women, may be admitted by the
Local Associations as honorary members.

Neither associates nor honorary members have voting power.

_Annual Meeting._

An Annual Meeting of the General Committee is held during the summer
term for the election of the officers of the Federation and other
business. This General Committee is composed of the members of the
Executive Committee and delegates from each Local Association.

Special meetings may also be called at the request of the delegates of
any three branches.

_Executive Committee._

The Executive Committee consists of the President, Hon. Secretaries,
Hon. Treasurer, the Chairman of the Committee on International
Relations, the Secretaries of the British Federation and of the
Committee on International Relations, eight members elected by the
General Committee at the Annual Meeting, and representatives of each
Local Association. The Executive may co-opt four additional members.

The President may not hold office for more than five years, and the
eight elected members of the Executive retire annually. No member of
the Executive Committee, other than the officers, may hold office for
more than four consecutive years.


Members are admitted to Local Associations on payment of a small
entrance fee (6d.) and either an annual subscription, varying slightly
within the different Associations, or a uniform life membership
subscription of £3 10s. Annual subscriptions are paid to the local
secretaries or treasurers. Life subscriptions are paid to the central
Treasurer. Each Local Association contributes out of its annual
subscriptions a minimum capitation fee of 4s. per member to the general
funds of the Federation. The financial year runs from June 1st to May

The Central Office of the Federation is at 73, Avenue Chambers, Vernon
Place, Southampton Row, London, W.C.1.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed by John Roberts Press Ltd., 14 Clerkenwell Green, London,


The first Conference of the Federation was held at Bedford College
for Women, London, in July, 1920. Fifteen countries were represented.
Articles of a constitution and bye-laws were adopted which are
calculated to provide effective machinery for ensuring co-operation
between the national associations of University women in the various
parts of the world. An account of the Conference, including full
reports of speeches by Professor Caroline Spurgeon, Dean Virginia C.
Gildersleeve, President M. Carey Thomas and other speakers, together
with reports on the higher education of women in the countries
represented and the text of the constitution and bye-laws, will be
found in the Report, Bulletin No. 1. Copies may be obtained from the
Secretary (price 1s., postage 3d.). In the United States copies may
be obtained from Miss Virginia Newcomb, Institute of International
Education, 419, West 117th Street, New York.

Transcriber's Note:

Possible printer errors have been changed.

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