International Women’s Day – a celebration and a call to #press for progress!!

International Women’s Day is both a collective day of global celebration as well as a call for gender parity; this year the theme was #press for progress.  Given that 2018 marks the centennial since the first, but not all, women were given the right to vote, we can recognise progress that has been made. However, we cannot be complacent and the gender pay gap and lack of representation of women in leadership in HE are clear evidence that we have a way to go. 81% of governing bodies and 78% of VCs are men and when we look at representation intersectionally black and minority ethnic backgrouds in leadership positions is under 1%. (Read more:

Jess Moody’s (ECU Senior Policy Adviser) WONKHE blog post  provides a good oversight of progress already made in the HE sector as well as the on-going need for progress. She recommends a two pronged approach; one to proactively support women through networking, mentoring and development programmes and another which focuses on the structural changes needed, through the Athena SWAN self-assessment process and equal pay audits which enable embedded action planning. To find out what UEL is doing along both these strands, please see our Athena SWAN intranet pages.  If you would like to get involved, please contact

International Women’s Day was recognised at UEL through an exhibition on each campus (Docklands, USS and Stratford Water Lane) as well as within other events such as the UEL’s Volunteering Awards. In case you missed the exhibitions, which included nominations from UEL students and staff of women who have inspired them, there is a sample below. In Stratford, we were able to celebrate Women in STEM in particular through Kate Hodgkin’s, Professor of Cultural History at UEL, celebration of the achievements of her grandmother, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, is the only British woman to have won a Nobel Prize for science.

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