Updated Spurling Report under way

A photograph from 1897 showing the vote on whether to grant women formal recognition of their degrees. After vicious campaigning, the motion was rejected by 1713 votes to 662, with special trains put on for men to travel to Cambridge to participate.

Social anthropologist Andrea Spurling's 1990 report into gender equality in higher education is being refreshed by PhD students Auriane Terki-Mignot and Charis Idicheria Nogossek, thirty years after its initial publication. With the support of Professor Anne Davis and the College’s Research Committee, the independent project will revisit the original Spurling Report and produce a comparative study in order to identify areas where progress has been made in the past thirty years, and those where progress remains to be made. Among the topics covered will be the enduring gender attainment gaps in certain subjects and the impact of COVID-19 on women’s careers in academia, where recent research, including that of King’s Fellows Chryssi Giannitsarou and Elisa Faraglia, has highlighted the disproportionate effect of lockdowns on the publishing output of female academics.

For questions or expressions of interest, please contact Auriane Terki-Mignot at adt41@cam.ac.uk.

About the Spurling Report

From 1988 to 1990, King’s employed social anthropologist Andrea Spurling to ‘identify factors inhibiting the academic careers of women at Cambridge University, taking King’s College as a case study’. The study was published as the ‘Report on Women in Higher Education’ in May 1990, offering a number of recommendations with a view to promoting gender equality. The preface to the Report notes that ‘For Andrea Spurling this report presents a task completed; for King’s and for Cambridge it represents an important step in a process which must go on.’ As part of the project, a new digitised version of the original Spurling Report has been made available online.

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