Oxford University has offered more places to women than men for the first time.
This year’s intake of freshers was made up of a total of 1,070 18-year-old women, compared to 1,025 men of the same age. Women not only gained a greater numbers of offers, but also applied in record numbers.
Catherine Canning, VP for Access and Academic Affairs at Oxford SU said: “It is important to recognise that Oxford has finally reached gender parity in its admissions for the first time in its 1000-year history.
“However, there are still significant disparities in admissions particularly around race and class.
“It is also important to recognise that access is more than an offer letter and Oxford University should be making sure all students feel welcome here.”
Colette Webber, Corpus Christi College’s women’s representative and first year student, said: “Considering that women weren’t even given degrees from Oxford until the 20s the active presence of women at the University is obviously an achievement that deserves to be celebrated – go on gals!
“But its also not an excuse in my opinion for anyone to pat themselves on the back and become complacent, we need to be looking at not only the male-female divide but who the women are that are being accepted.
“Other contextual information like class and ethnicity has to be as important and equally for the men.
“A statistic like that [more women than men] can be misleading in terms of diversity and development.”
The Polar 3 analysis, carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council, looked at the link between the socioeconomic status of an area and its residents’ participation in higher education.
The study found that students from the three wealthiest quintile areas were 10 times as likely to apply and almost 13 times as likely to be accepted at Oxford than those in the lowest quintile.
Jaycie Carter, the co-chair of Oxford’s SU’s Class Act Campaign told Cherwell: “Class Act believes that far more needs to be done by the University of Oxford and the government to reform systems and a culture that deter promising students from low socioeconomic backgrounds from applying and exacerbates these disparities in the application process.
“This should be done by improving education for those from the most deprived backgrounds to give a fair basis in which to start as well as top universities providing institutional support both in increased outreach work and ensuring these students are actually supported and at the university when they do get a place.”
Julia Paolitto, a spokesperson for the University, told Cherwell: “While more than ten times as many offers went to those in the highest quintile compared to the lowest, for those who did apply the offer rates were fairly similar.
“More importantly, once Ucas took into account the profiles of those applying from each group (including the subjects they applied for and the grades they achieved), students from the lowest quintile actually performed better than expected compared to those from higher quintiles.”