‘Old Boys’ of Cambridge


One thing that a professor with a Cambridge PhD once told me was that even as recently as the 90s, Cambridge still had the flavor of an ‘old boys’ club at the expense of its women. A recent article in The Times describes one current (female) Cambridge professor’s recollections of an older academic era where it was common for females to put up with the “pawing” of older male academics.

In what I imagine is more than just a cultural difference across the pond, the professor actually said she had a “wistful nostalgia” for those times. This statement has (quite rightly) caused significant criticism for giving the impression that she condoned male sexual harassment. Indeed, such a sentiment would hardly be tolerated by a prominent American academic. One only needs to remember former Harvard president Larry Summers, whose statement that the paucity of women in science may be attributed to ‘innate differences’ provided the public outcry that contributed to his ousting this year.

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