Oxford college debates merits of women-only principals

Article here. Excerpt:

'Somerville College JCR is discussing whether gender should be taken into account in the selection of the next principal.

Dr Alice Prochaska, Somerville’s current principal, announced in October 2016 that she will be stepping down after a seven-year term at the end of the academic year. The college is due to announce her successor some time this year.

Alex Crichton-Miller, president of the Somerville JCR, told Cherwell: “Given that there are several colleges in Oxford that have only ever been led by men, there were some members of the Common Room who felt strongly that Somerville ought to continue to have a female principal.

“This point was made, clearly, on the basis that the proposed female candidate possesses all other required qualities for the leadership role.
Whilst positive action is lawful under the Equality Act, Somerville’s Equality and Diversity Policy states: “In respect of staff, ensure that entry into employment and progression within employment are determined solely by criteria which are related to the duties of a particular post.”

In December 2016, released National Archive files revealed Margaret Thatcher’s attempt to fight the admission of male fellows at her alma mater, Somerville. This resistance came at odds with directives of the European Commission’s equality legislation.'

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