International Women's Day event - session recording

10 March 2021      Martin Higgs, Communications Officer

For those of you who were unable to join us for our International Women’s Day event we have a recording of the session for you to catch up on. Facilitated by Dr Zainab Khan (Pro Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at London Metropolitan University and Director of their Centre for Equity and Inclusion), the panel included HR Directors and others engaged in the work to bring universities to a position of gender equity. Dr Khan spoke of the need for explicit commitments and targets – for instance to make staff teams including at senior levels representative of London demographics so that students have role models of what can be achieved.

Claire Buchanan (Bristol University) discussed the need to address the pipeline to senior roles, and the case for intervention much earlier in careers. Adele MacKinlay (Loughborough University) agreed that this pipeline of talent is very leaky – with women promoted more slowly and more likely to leave than men.

Kate Hunter of specialist executive search company Perrett Laver discussed movement in this area at the most senior level, including VC and governing body roles, and the need to create the right recruitment environment via vigilance on language, training for recruitment committees, and the challenging of biases and assumptions.

Alice Chilver, founder of WHEN – the Women’s Higher Education Network – talked about a WHEN pilot programme being run with five universities to help support black women into professorships, and the stark fact that there are just 25 such women in professor roles now. If 90% of VCs have been professors, and if currently just 29% of VCs are women, the hurdles placed in front of BAME female colleagues who wish to progress to VC level are startling.

UHR Executive Director Helen Scott discussed the real risks of regression on the equalities front from the pandemic, and that in terms of furlough, the added weight of home schooling and family care responsibilities, and the likelihood of being on unfavourable contracts in the first place, women had taken more of a hit than men during this crisis period.

To catch up with the discussion, you can now view the entire recorded session.

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