St Hilda's holds out as female bastion

April 25, 1997

Male academics will not be allowed to join St Hilda's College, Oxford, despite a majority vote in favour of changing the 100-year-old rule. The college's financial difficulties will intensify as a result, said principal Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith.

The Governing Body of the College voted on a resolution to remove statutes which banned male fellowships this week. The resolution won 17 votes, but with ten objections, the necessary two-thirds majority was not reached.

Dr Llewellyn-Smith said that the issue would inevitably have to be raised again, as the college was finding it increasingly difficult to pay for lecturers whose salaries were not jointly paid with Oxford University.

"We need to slot into the university system so that the lecturers hold both college and university appointments and the position is paid for jointly," said Dr Llewellyn-Smith. "The university can't advertise for women-only posts because it is illegal. Gradually, as people leave or retire, we are getting thinner and thinner and it is becoming impossible.

"Male students are not on the agenda at all," she insisted. "We are just going to have to try that much harder with our fund raising."

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