30 Years of Rhodes Women

Profiles and reflections by over 60 Rhodes Women from around the world upon the celebration of 30 years of Rhodes Women

In 1977, twenty-four women arrived in Oxford as the first female Rhodes Scholars. Thirty years later, 878 more have made this same journey. Their presence has significantly impacted the Rhodes Trust, Rhodes House and the University of Oxford. For many, the Rhodes Scholarship made a profound difference in their lives.

In 2006, Professor Elizabeth Fallaize was appointed a Rhodes Trustee. Soon after, she initiated a series of lunchtime discussions among current women Scholars. These discussions, in which attendees shared their personal stories and reflections on being women Rhodes Scholars, significantly strengthened the ties between women Scholars at Oxford. They also emphasised the importance of exchanging stories as one way to understand the past and explore the future. The connections forged as a result of Elizabeth’s initiative generated a desire amongst current women Scholars to engage with their predecessors, and to celebrate thirty years of Rhodes women. This resulted in the 30th Anniversary of Rhodes Women event, held in Oxford 30 May – 1 June 2008, and attended by more than 100 women Scholars.

As a way to spread the exchange of stories beyond Oxford, this publication collects 13 profiles and 53 personal reflections, bringing together the voices and stories of three decades of Rhodes women from around the world. It is, therefore, a beginning. The words, thoughts and reflections collected here construct an account of the past. But they also open a window to continued dialogue in the future. Together, our pasts shared in Oxford, and our diverse futures beyond, tell the story of thirty years of Rhodes women.