Celebrating our people choosing to challenge gender inequality

Mon, 22 Mar 2021 10:59:00 GMT

On Monday 8 March people from across the University came together to share their personal stories and experiences of gender inequality and how they choose to challenge the status quo.

Those who took part in the campaign spoke about how women in higher education are faced with challenges right from the get-go, from too few female role models for young women and girls, to bias against women in promotions and difficulties in balancing family life while progressing a career.

Professor Perdita Barran, from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, spoke candidly about her experiences of raising a young family while trying to develop professionally, but also pointed out how higher education institutions can do more to support working women.

Aoife Taylor, a PhD student in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, shared her experience of struggling with impostor syndrome in a male-dominated environment and Professor Sarah Haigh reiterated how a lack of female role models, especially at the top, may be deterring women from entering academia.

Elaine Dewhurst, Senior Lecturer in Law, pointed out that it’s not just women starting their careers who face challenges. With the increasing reliance on digital technology (exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic) women over 50 are particularly affected by the digital divide in the workplace.

Dr Nicole Brown discussed her research on the experience of disabled, chronically ill and/or neuro-divergent members of higher education staff in her keynote titled “It’s all in your head”: The experience of disabled women in higher education.

Nicole was joined by Dr Natalie Gardiner, Director of Social Responsibility and Vikki Goddard, Head of Faculty Operations and University PS champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for a discussion and Q&A session.

Both speakers highlighted the importance of how ‘collectively we can all create an inclusive world by choosing to challenge on this day and every day that follows’ by ‘stepping up and calling out bias and inequality.’ Watch the event recording here

Despite these challenges highlighted at these events, everyone pointed out how society is changing and is becoming a fairer place for all. By sharing their stories and their research, they hope to inspire women to join the chorus for change and continue to improve the lives of women around the world.

To find out more about the campaign and read the case studies, please visit the International Women’s Day pages on the University website.