Record Percentage of Women Students, 1924

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The percentage of women students at Edinburgh University reached a peace time peak in 1924.

After the first admission of women to degree courses in 1892, the numbers of female students rose steadily until by 1913 they accounted for 17% of the student population. The First World War had an enormous impact on female participation in university life. The number of women students rose from 552 in 1913-1914 to more than a thousand in 1919-20, partly as a result of the decision to admit women into the Faculty of Medicine in 1916. The war years also saw the election of the first female president of the Students' Representative Council. The return of many young men to complete their studies after the war tilted the balance back in favour of male students, but there was still over 400 female students in the Medical Faculty in 1919-20. Female numbers continued to rise as the wave of returning conscripts subsided and by 1924-25 they accounted fir 31% of the student population. Thereafter, an economic downturn culminating in the Great Depression of 1929-32 caused female numbers to decline. The government's response to the financial included savage cuts to education funding which led to a drastic reduction in the number of teaching posts available in schools. This particularly affected women students for whom teaching was the main career choice. By 1938-39 the number of female students had fallen to 24%.

Other University Events in 1924

Related Pages


  • Robert D. Anderson, 'The Construction of a Modern University', in Robert D. Anderson, Michael Lynch, and Nicholas Phillipson, The University of Edinburgh: An Illustrated History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp. 103-207.