The number of women students doing STEMM degrees has decreased to 38%, below the Russell Group benchmark of 49.8%Louis Ashworth

The University’s 2018-19 Equality and Diversity Information Report, published at the end of January, shows an increase in the number of BME student applications, and a lowered ethnicity attainment gap, whereas the gender attainment gap has increased and the number of women in STEMM subjects has decreased.

The 2018-19 report shows changes in the attainment gap between men and women. In the academic year 2017-18, men gained 7.7% more first class examination results than women, a 2.2% increase from the 2016-17 figure of 6.5%. In 2018-19, however, this gap increased further, to 8.5%.

In the 2018 round of admissions, there were fewer applications made to the University by women, at 46.6%. However, women applicants were more likely to be offered places, making up 49.6% of all admissions. This compares against a Russell Group average of 55.5% women for first year admissions in 2017-18.

The number of women students doing STEMM degrees has decreased to 38%, significantly below the Russell Group benchmark of 49.8%.

On the other hand, the data for BME students shows an improvement in diversity, with BME applicants making up 28.6% of home undergraduate applications in 2018, an increase from 25.6% in 2017. This compares to the Russell Group average of 21.7% BME for first year undergraduate admissions in 2017-18.


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Moreover, the ethnicity attainment gap has decreased. In 2017-18, White students gained 5.7% more first class examination results than BME students. This figure was reduced to 2.2% in the following year.

The Equality and Diversity Information Report has been published every year for the last ten years, following the commitment made by the University after signing the Equality Act in 2010.

In 2016, the University of Cambridge published its Equality & Diversity Strategy 2016-2021 which builds on specific objectives to map the University’s direction for the following years. Objective 3, in particular, aims “to address disadvantage in student learning and attainment and issues in student satisfaction in relation to protected characteristics”.

The University has been contacted by Varsity for comment.