‘Study reveals extent of the Oxbridge divide’: Whatever happened to gender equality?

It is most remarkable that neither the Sutton Trust nor the media have noticed changing forms of inequality in access to elite universities over the last 30 years. Whilst it is true that access to Oxbridge remains highly privileged as the recent Guardian article suggests, there is a major change that has been overlooked. 2 of the 5 schools mentioned in your report have co-educational sixth forms, and a third is a girls’ school. Only two schools are single sex boys’ schools (Eton and St Pauls). Relatively equal numbers of boys and girls now access higher education, including Oxbridge and indeed girls slightly outperform boys in degree results overall. It is strange indeed that changing forms of gender equality in education are not celebrated in the rush to try to get poor or disadvantaged students into the elite universities. This is being encouraged in last week’s white paper: HE: putting students at the heart of the system. What a pity attention is not focused on trying to change the culture of the political elites who still maintain their male privilege, and continue to exclude not only the poor and disadvantaged but their middle class sisters in the higher echelons, despite their academic achievements.

Miriam David, GEA Executive


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