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A festival year marking 40 years of women at St John’s

In 1981 the first female members matriculated at St John’s, with the first female undergraduates arriving in 1982.

This year the College is marking these significant moments in its history by celebrating the contributions that female Johnians have made to the College and to wider society.

We hope you will find much of interest in this programme and we will keep you updated with news as these projects progress.

Coming soon

1981 and 1982 reunion dinner

Reunion dinner tea party
Tea party in the Master’s Lodge Garden

A reunion dinner on 2 July 2022 for the 1981 and 1982 matriculation cohorts (invitations have been issued by the Fellows Steward). We hope to celebrate with as many Johnians from these two significant years in the College’s history as possible.


The Music Society will continue its year-long emphasis on spotlighting compositions by women with a concert series in the Michaelmas Term 2022 featuring a number of alumnae:

2nd November: Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective (Laura van der Heijden 2016 – cello and her chamber group) in works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Florence Price, Gabriel Faure and a premiere from Lara Weaver.

Stephanie Childreess on the cover of Johnian magazine

12th November: Stephanie Childress (2015) conducts a chamber concert featuring a premiere from Vickie Pham and works by Charles Ives and Ruth Crawford Seeger.

2nd December: Behn Quartet (Gilly McMullin 2012 – cello) including works by Tailleferre and Bacewicz

Details on tickets available soon.

Photographic portrait series

A series of photographic portraits of pioneering alumnae, focusing on alumnae who were the first Johnian women to achieve significant milestones relevant to their field.

The images will showcase the diverse paths taken by alumnae over the last four decades, to inspire current and future students. The portraits will be displayed at the heart of College in the new Community Hub in Second Court which is due to be completed in Michaelmas Term 2022. In the future, the series will be incorporated into the College’s curatorial policy for its public rooms.


A series of podcasts featuring distinguished alumnae in conversation with Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s. These wide-ranging, engaging discussions will mark this pivotal moment in the history of the College with personal stories and experiences from female Johnians of the last four decades.

Inspirational speakers

The SBR and JCR will programme a special event for students in Michaelmas Term 2022 inviting pioneering Johnian alumnae to speak about their personal and professional experiences since their time at St John’s.

Library exhibition

The library team will produce a display of books by living female Johnians.

Articles and essays

The Eagle 2022 will feature a number of pieces that will foreground the work, achievements and contributions of women to the St John’s community.

The programme so far

A timeline of the last 40 years

In the spring issue of the Johnian magazine, we published a timeline of some of the ‘firsts’ for women in the College over the last 40 years. Read it online here for an overview bringing us up to the present day with the admission of the College’s first female Master, Heather Hancock.

International Women’s Day

Members of St John’s FemSoc

The St John’s FemSoc programmed an exciting schedule of events for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022. They co-hosted a conference with Cam Women In Business, hosted a women in academia panel discussion, and an ‘in conversation’ with Director of Music Andrew Nethsinga following the recent decision to admit women and girls to the choir of St John’s.

Aquila, the College’s female a capella group performed a special concert.

Library exhibition

An exhibition ‘Women and their books’ in the College Library Jan – Apr 2022 can be enjoyed online here.

Lectures and speakers

The Linacre Lecture was given by Dr Sheena Radford in Feb 2022; Dr Sofia Gotti gave a lecture on the work of Josefina Plá for Women’s History Month with St John’s College History Society; Loretta Minghella, Master of Clare College, to preach at Commemoration of Benefactors service.