Women from University’s past inspire its future on International Women’s Day

Posted by pt91 at Mar 01, 2018 11:16 AM |
Week of events from 5 – 9 March will revisit stories of successful women while poetry takes over the campus

Issued by University of Leicester on 1 March 2018

The inspirational stories of women working in universities and science will be told to encourage staff and students to #pressforprogress in gender equality.

It forms part of International Women’s Day, which takes over the campus on 8 March with gender equality themed poetry displayed on University buildings, an interactive poetry session in the University’s innovative new Digital Reading Room, a Bhangra Dance Class especially for women and gender equality showcases by a range of departments.

The University has also organised a special screening of ‘The Divine Order’ with Phoenix Leicester, a story based in rural Switzerland in which a young housewife challenges the status quo by fighting for women’s suffrage.

Events will be taking place across the whole week from 5 – 9 March and will shine a light on the challenges that women face in all walks of life.  Through these events, the hope is that staff and students will come together to recognise gender inequalities that exist whilst celebrating the achievements of women.

The range of events that the University is hosting for International Women’s Day include examining issues around gender equality and empowering individuals to take action. ’Lessons from Litigation - sexual harassment claims to employment tribunals' will be hosted by Leicester Law School for the benefit of staff while ‘Night-time economy and sexual harassment’ will explore the nature of, and responses to, unwanted sexual attention in night-time leisure spaces (i.e. bars and clubs). A workshop by the Institute for Advanced Studies will explore alternatives to female genital mutilation as initiation into womanhood in 'Alternative Rites of Passage'.

A special feature of the docudrama DNA Secret of Photo 51 will explore the role of Rosalind Franklin in solving the structure of DNA and unravelling the physical basis of the genetic code.  This will be followed by a discussion of why there are so many famous female X-ray crystallographers.

The newly formed Senior Women’s Network are hosting an event where four members will present their leadership journeys followed by a panel discussion where staff, students and graduates will have the opportunity to ask questions, discuss the experiences of the speakers as well as their own experiences of career progression.

Students will be encouraged to express their thoughts on sexual violence and harassment through writing and performance in a series of Creative Writing workshops as part of the University’s Standing Together campaign.

The University will also be shining a spotlight on inspirational women from our University’s history. On Monday 5 March, three portraits of women of influence painted by three female artists will be unveiled and their contributions celebrated.

The College of Life Sciences is hosting an event entitled ‘Inspiring Women to STEM Success’ which aims to inspire female students to achieve their potential and to overcome barriers to women in science.

The Special Collections team in the University Library will unearth treasures from the University Archives to provide an insight into the University’s history and reveal how women have helped shape the institution from its foundation to the present day.

The annual Dorothy Jones Lecture will also take place this week and will see Professor Anne O’Garra, Associate Research Director and Head of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation and Infection at The Francis Crick Institute, speaking on 'Cytokine interference in immunity to infection – my journey through science’. She chaired the Athena Swan Institute Pilot Bronze award for the National Institute for Medical Research and continues to promote gender matters in science at The Francis Crick Institute.

Dr Kate Williams, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said:

“This year has seen huge global movements for gender equality, women’s rights and justice. International news headlines have seen harassment and discrimination of women become part of a public conversation calling for change. It’s fitting that the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #pressforprogress.

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress that has been made, continue to call for change but also to celebrate those women who are determined to make a difference. Our events over the week of International Women’s Day all celebrate those women who have or still are making a difference. We hope that you are able to come along to one or more of the events that colleagues have organised that demonstrate their passion to #pressforprogress.”

International Women’s Day is a day when we shine a spotlight on women and recognise their contributions and achievements. International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and is celebrated each year on 8 March. The day brings together women’s organisations, corporations, charities and the education sector to celebrate progress but also acknowledge that more needs to be done. It is a day about women but isn’t just for women. It is a day that unites everyone in challenging gender inequality.

More information on International Women’s Day at University of Leicester: www.le.ac.uk/iwd

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