Professor Henrietta O'Connor

Henrietta O'Connor

Department of Sociology

Henrietta was a postgraduate student and a Research Assistant at the University of Leicester in the early 1990s, taking up her current post in 1997.   Her research interests have always been underpinned by her interest in gender and the everyday life of women. Her academic career began with research on the experience of Irish women in Leicester. This was followed by research that explored the role of the internet in the lives of new mothers, the transition experiences of young women entering employment and the challenges of combining paid work with motherhood. Her more recent work has been concerned with women in academia ranging from a historical perspective on ‘forgotten’ women sociologists to her current research on women’s academic careers.

Her active involvement in equalities at the University of Leicester stemmed from her appointment as Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee in 2014. In this role she has championed various aspects of equality at the University of Leicester ranging from the initiation of a women’s forum, the development of webpages dedicated to women’s careers and the instigation of our institutional celebration of International Women’s Day. 

‘My beliefs about the importance of equality in the workplace were heavily influenced by my employment at the Centre for Labour Market Studies where practices now advocated by Athena Swan were embedded over twenty years ago.  Working in such a supportive and encouraging environment enabled me to combine motherhood and an academic career effectively. It is this very positive experience that underpins my own commitment to gender equality. I am proud to work in an institution that recognises the importance of equality and diversity and places this commitment at the forefront of all our activities’.


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