My DPhil project uses oral history methodology to uncover and acknowledge the individual voices and experiences of the hundred women who entered five formally male only Oxford colleges in 1974. Using a life-story interview format, I seek to understand women’s experiences in the reference to their own wider and longer-term social context, as well as the political and social contexts of 1970s Britain.
I am motivated to carry out this project as I have discovered that there has been limited engagement by scholars with this group of women in studies of the University of Oxford or coeducation. Much of this scholarship has focused on why the colleges decided to go coeducational, decisions which were almost exclusively made by men. This has meant that the experiences of the women themselves are yet to be engaged with on an academic level, an oversight which I wish to correct.
While this study focuses on a select group at a single elite institution, I see it has having wider implications and offering greater and transferable insights into the nuances of the process of women entering elite, patriarchal spaces.
More broadly I am interested in British and Irish 20th Century Women's history. I have written on topics such as, women's role in producing nationalist propaganda in revolutionary Ireland, and women's domestic resistance during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.
In 2018 I was awarded an AHRC Doctoral Training Studentship, which funded my Masters degree at the University of Oxford. In 2019 I was awarded a Clarendon Scholarship to fund my DPhil research.