The International Women’s Day theme this year is ‘Pledge for Parity’. Timely, given UEL’s planned commitment to the extended Athena SWAN principles which previously focused on women in STEM and now recognises work promoting gender equality in all academic disciplines and professional services. Professor John Joughin, Vice Chancellor, confirmed this commitment yesterday at day four of the ElevatorHer conference hosted by the CASS School of Education and Communities.
This theme was the basis of the panel discussion today which included Dr Marcia Wilson, Head of Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences; Rowan Ellis (
@aithinne ), YouTube thought leader; Emma Case (@StartWithEmma) Career & Business Success Coach.
The talks were very different and each sparked a number of questions, in particular around the extent that we as individuals can make a difference in progressing gender equality or that we are restricted by culture. Emma Case discussed the power we give away through the language we use and ways which we can help ourselves. While Rowan Ellis reflected on her current work supporting women creators through a YouTube community and considering how this facilitates collaboration and an inclusive online community. Through Athena SWAN work we have considered how we can better support a women’s network online so plenty to think about here. Finally, Marcia Wilson focused on unconscious bias and the role models that we see everyday (for example within sports and sports coaching) which impact on ambitions. With statistics such as that there are only 17 black female professors in the UK, there is a long way to go. Reflecting on Athena SWAN and CEWE, there are clearly links to highlighting successes and role models with in UEL and support such as mentoring and networking – see our webpages for more info and how to get involved.
And finally, individuals made a pledge for parity:
Our IWD discussion event sat within the broader ElevateHer 2016 conference, the annual interdisciplinary conference concerned with the political, economic, social, cultural and technological achievements and advancement of women, hosted by Cass School of Education and Communities. The conference was covered by SABC News: