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8 March: International Women's Day events


International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on 8 March to mark the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women; to raise awareness of discrimination and bias; and to inspire and empower us all to take action for equality. The theme for IWD 2021 is #choosetochallenge. 

The University of London is committed to gender equality and is proud of the role it has played in opening higher education to women. In 1868, it became the first university to offer first-degree courses to women. It was also the first university to appoint a female lecturer and vice-chancellor. English literary critic Caroline Spurgeon was appointed as the first female university professor in 1900, and in 1948, Dame Lillian Penson was appointed as the first female vice-chancellor in any university within the Commonwealth. In 2018, the University celebrated the contributions of 150 'Leading Women' with a year-long series of special events.   
Today, the University's staff is nearly 60% female. It works hard to ensure an inclusive environment that supports academic and professional women, and is a signatory to the Athena Swan Charter, a global framework that is transforming gender equality within higher education and research. 

The University's Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team is chaired by Professor Mary Stiasny. Over the past year, progress has been made on collating gender equality data, analysing it, and defining thematic areas where further action is needed. This work will be taken forward through the development of a gender equality plan that includes actions in areas such as recruitment and selection, career development, inclusive policies, and working practices. As work on the plan is taken forward, colleagues across the organisation will have the opportunity to engage with and support gender equality initiatives.

University of London events

Related events

Women of the World Festival (WOW) 2021