Opening university degrees to women on an equal footing with men took some time to achieve, especially in the area of medicine. Five women, including Sophia Jex-Blake, did succeed in entering Edinburgh University in 1869 to study medicine but even a year later, male students organised a riot called the 'Riot at Surgeons' Hall'. Women students were pursued into their lecture hall by a sheep which the men pushed through the doors, because they claimed inferior animals were not to be excluded. The professor was not impressed and said, 'Let it stay - it has more sense than those that sent it here.' However the women were still refused their degrees.
London University opened all its degrees to women in 1878, and it then became possible for women to become registered medical doctors. Other universities except Oxford and Cambridge then followed suit. When in 1897, for the third time, Cambridge voted against degrees for women, the undergraduates lit a bonfire in the market place and were heard triumphantly singing God Save the Queen at eleven that night. Oxford did not admit women to its degrees until 1919, Cambridge not fully until 1948.