"...Information all undergraduates should know."

Synopsis

For CLIO's inaugural speech for the round of 20th Anniversary talks, the society had the pleasure of hosting Dr Amy Erickson, a leading historian in the fields of gendered economic, social and legal structures in early modern England, and the history of women's education in the 20th century, in Girton College, Cambridge. Dr. Erickson delved into the past of gender bias in education within Cambridge from the 15th century onwards, culminating in a series of revealing questions about the nature of the gender gap today.
Some of her key takeaways included:

  • The myth of the 'pipeline'- Dr Erickson demonstrated the lack of feed through from educated to educator
  • Implicit Bias - the subconscious bias which affects both men and women
  • Silent history - Cambridge's own self-censorship on the gender question in its official timeline


Women Gain full membership of Cambridge

Women prior to 1948 are recognised by Cambridge

% Men received a First in 2015

% of women applying for economics in Cambridge

More Information

The thrust of Dr Erickon's findings demonstrated a general tendency towards the omission of women from the history of Cambridge, with some of the leading women from the 1900s generally falling below the radar, contrary to male experience. On the nature of education today, she went further by suggesting that efforts to stimulate equitable share of placements in certain forums of education have not actuated in better life experiences, nor translated through the 'pipeline', whereby the realisation of equality is from the feedthrough of more recent generations where equality has been more pronounced. These are not necessarily conscious decisions, with many actions typically being implicit, and subconscious by nature. Overall, Dr Erickson added weight to an already established argument - inequality must be tackled proactively by continued awareness of what some seemingly inoccuous traditions add to the gender divide.

Girls in Secondary School

1900

23,000

1923

200,000

1936

250,000