Aelfthryth Gittings 1939-2012

Oxford and CND

SCPR 1978-2000

May 1960: anti-bomb demonstration during visit by Hugh Gaitskell


[a letter urging that women undergraduates should be allowed to debate in the Oxford Union] Cherwell (Oxford)  February 1959)

Sir. We feel that there is no good reason whv women should be deprived of debating member­ship of the Union. According to your own correspondents the general standard of male undergraduate speakers, especially this term, is deplorably low.

The present male establishment at the Union recognises the abil­ity of women speakers by invit­ing them as guests. It is not unlikely that among the woman undergraduates there are some speakers of calibre who would help to raise the standard. The Schools' results show that the average intelligence of wo­men in Oxford is certainly no lower than that of men. In most undergraduate circles including political discussion, women play a full and active part. The Liberal Club have recently had a woman as Presi­dent and the Labour Club a wo­man Secretary, who was defeated for the Chairmanship by only one vote. Last term's Cherwell had a woman Editor, and the present President and Secretary of  E.T.C. arc both women.

Congregation have no\w admit­ted women's colleges to equal status with men's, and Oxford may soon have its first woman Vice-Chancellor.

The Union stands alone, no longer accompanicd ev en by the House of Lords, as a symbol of male reaction. It is time such an anachronism was abolished from a University which should be the home of progressive thinking. We are only seeking debating rights. and those men who feel they would not like their club room to be tainted by feminine influence mav rest assured: we will not invade their seclusion.

We appeal to all thinking men to support our motion when it comes before the Union.

Yours sincerely, Aelfthryth Buzzard , Frances Kaldor,  Somerville College


1960: Aldermaston March

1964: Twickenham, outside INDEC campaign office for Michael Craft


1965: Degree award with Danny