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Leading women

Courage calls to courage everywhere: The Leading Women legacy


Professor Mary Stiasny, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chair of Leading Women looks back at the year-long celebration and discusses the University's future commitments.

There is a lot to be proud of when we look back at this year of Leading Women. But after reflection, what’s important is to look to the future. To demonstrate our forward focus, we have committed to initiatives that will ensure that our Leading Women legacy will continue.

The University of London Worldwide has funded scholarships for 150 women to study for our Global MBA programme. The programme, open to women all over the world, will have a far-reaching effect. Despite more women entering business globally, they are still underrepresented at an executive level. Women still have a long way to go to achieve parity with men in terms of responsibility, pay and promotion, not just in the UK, but across the world. We believe that the University of London’s Global MBA, with specialisms in Law, Finance, Accountancy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Leadership, will provide women with the necessary tools to make further advances in their chosen fields and help women to break down gender barriers all over the world.

In 2019, we will be submitting our first Athena SWAN application. The Athena SWAN charter recognises the advancement of gender equality in higher education institutions.

We will continue to offer AdvanceHE’s popular Aurora programme, which develops future female leaders in higher education via training days spread throughout the year. The programme addresses the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in the sector.

We are excited to be starting our very own blue plaque scheme to commemorate notable women affiliated with the University of London and member institutions. Currently only 14% percent of English Heritage blue plaques in London are dedicated to women. There is no shortage of plaque-worthy women and our scheme will ensure that their work does not go unrecognised.

We have created a mobile phone app for our popular Senate Women installation. If you missed the installation in Senate House, you can still listen to the inspirational life stories of our ten Senate Women by downloading the app (available for iOS or Android).

We will be hosting a second ‘Women in Leadership’ conference for University of London staff in 2019, as the conference proved incredibly popular last year, with all places being taken.

An Institute of Historical Research project, led by Dr Philip Carter, will explore the impact of the decision to open up higher education to women on their lives, the University of London and wider higher education sector.

Internally, we will be reviewing our family friendly HR policies, including shared parental leave, adoption leave, carer’s leave, flexible working, maternity and paternity leave.

Finally, our 67ft Leading Women timeline has now been installed; not only will it serve as a detailed reminder of this year but will also highlight centuries of women’s achievements around the world. The timeline takes pride of place on Senate House’s ground floor and is open to the public.

The success of our year-long campaign will act as a template for future endeavours and future ways of building upon progress and inclusion at the University. We are proud of our achievements this year and 150 years ago, however, as always, there is much more to be done. We hope that this campaign has served to inform, energise and inspire, as, in the words of Millicent Fawcett, “Courage calls to courage everywhere.”