Rhodes Visiting Fellowships, offered by the Rhodes Trust between 1968 and 2000, brought many outstanding young women to undertake post-doctoral study at the University of Oxford, and they remain very valued members of the global Rhodes community. The Fellowships were established in 1968 to enable extraordinary young women to study at Oxford, before the Rhodes Scholarships were able to be opened to women in 1976 following the British Sex Discrimination Act of 1975.
In 1968, the Warden of Rhodes House, Sir Edgar Williams, proposed that the then five women’s colleges should receive a female Fellow from among the Rhodes territories for one or two years. In October 1968, it was agreed that the first Fellowship should be offered for women to attend Lady Margaret Hall, which was the most senior women’s college. Women from the Commonwealth, South Africa and Rhodesia (as it then was) who were interested in pursuing post-doctoral studies were invited to apply. The appointed Fellow would be expected to attend college meetings and do six hours of teaching per week. In February 1969, the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall wrote to the principals of the four other women’s colleges - Somerville, St. Hugh's, St. Hilda's, and St. Anne's - to extend the Rhodes Visiting Fellowships.
In 1976, when at the request of the Rhodes Trustees the UK Secretary of State for Education issued a 'modification order' under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Rhodes Scholarships were opened to women. The first women Rhodes Scholars came to Oxford in 1977, and since then hundreds of outstanding young women have come to Oxford as Rhodes Scholars.