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Oxford University admits more women than men for the first time

PUBLISH DATE 26th January 2018

The University of Oxford has admitted more women than men in undergraduate courses for the first time in its more than 800-year history. In 2017, a total of 1,275 women received offers from the world-famous institution, compared with 1,165 men, as per the official figures released today.

“Out of them, 1,070 women achieved the grades required to secure their place, compared with 1,025 men who will start their courses in September this year,” according to the data released by the UK’s centralised universities admissions body, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Among applicants of all ages from the UK, women also received more offers to study as undergraduates than men despite fewer applying than their male counterparts. The University said that the new figures are “a welcome sign of progress for female applicants”.

Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a unique and historic institution. Women were first admitted to male-only Oxford University when Lady Margaret Hall opened its doors as an all-women college in 1878.

The university’s traditional rival, the University of Cambridge, had male applicants marginally ahead for the 2018 academic year – 1,440 women to 1,405 men. The university made more offers to women aged over 18, although fewer took up the places. Related equalities data from the UCAS also showed an improvement among the more selective universities in recruiting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Our data shows overall that admissions are fair. Applicants from all backgrounds receive offers at rates which closely match the average for applicants to similar courses, with similar predicted grades,” said UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant.

“However, these data also show that, while progress continues to be made in widening participation, particularly at universities with a higher entry tariff, large disparities remain between the groups entering higher education generally, and at individual universities and colleges,” she warned.

Both universities have continued to see a fall in the gap between entry rates for the most and least advantaged young people. In 2012, 26.6 per cent of applications from the richest segment were successful at Oxford University, dropping to 24.9 per cent last year. At Cambridge University, it has dropped from 37 per cent to 32.3 per cent.

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