University marks International Women’s Day

Mon 07 March, 2022
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Students and staff from the University of Bedfordshire are getting ready to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (8th March 2022) – an annual event dedicated to the recognition of social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe.

The theme of this year’s celebration is #BreakTheBias – a global call to tackle discrimination, bias and stereotypes.

Bedfordshire is holding multiple events to mark International Women’s Day and its 2022 theme, including a ‘STEM Inspire Day’ hosted by the School of Computer Science & Technology and the University’s Access & Outreach team on 8th March. Up to forty Year 9 students from Denbigh High School will be attending the all-day event, where they will get to learn more about the University’s STEM opportunities and take part in some interactive STEM activities.

The University – in partnership with Beds SU and Enterprise Rent-a-Car – will also be hosting a virtual International Women's Day Conference on Thursday 10th March (1.55-4pm), featuring speakers from various sectors, including a former Vice-President of Citibank and Merrill Lynch International, the CEO of Active Luton and the Assistant Vice President of UK & Ireland Enterprise. These guests will all be discussing how they have ‘broken the bias' and offer advice on how to create a more inclusive environment for the workplace. To join, simply click on the Teams invite link here.

The University of Bedfordshire is not short of inspirational female role models within its staff and student community.  Here, some female academics reflect on this year’s #BreakTheBias theme…

Dr Joan Bailey MBE FRSA DL – Senior Lecturer, Social Work; Course Co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work

“Do we still need an International Women's Day? Yes! There's no place for complacency. According to the World Economic Forum, sadly none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children. Gender parity will not be attained for almost a century.  There's urgent work to do - and we can all play a part.

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.”

Read Dr Joan Bailey MBE’s staff profile here.

Professor Alexis Weedon – Director of the Research Institute for Media Arts and Performance

“Each of us can #BreakTheBias though our work in education and commit to a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. My own work looks at recovering the work of four neglected authors who in the past were marginalised because they were women, or gay, or because of their race or religion. 

“I’m proud to see #BreakTheBias reflected in our PhD students topics, such as Tasneem Rashid’s focus on the place of Arab women’s voice in performance, and Vivianna Castellino’s work on disability and ‘othering’ in fiction. We can all work to #BreakTheBias.”

Read Professor Alexis Weedon’s staff profile here.

Dr Tahmina Ajmal – Senior Lecturer in Engineering

“Engineering is about solving problems and women are natural problem solvers, we just need more confidence in our solutions. Science and Engineering need more women to attain a much-needed balance for sustaining its present and future progress.

“I’d like to encourage more girls to join STEM subjects so we are able to shift the balance and #BreakThe Bias.  To commemorate International Women’s Day this year, I am organising an event for girls to show them options and role models so we are able to #BreakThe Bias.”

Read Dr Tahmina Ajmal’s staff profile here.

Dr Lindsay McDermott – Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

“We've made great strides in recognising and rewarding the scientific discoveries of female scientists. It was wonderful to see Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for their discovery of a method to edit genes, but I think there is still much work to be done to ensure equality of pay.”

Read Dr Lindsay McDermott’s staff profile here.

As part of the local community’s celebrations, Dr Joan Bailey MBE was interviewed for a special International Women’s Day episode of The Mall’s podcast series, Luton Life. This episode celebrates inspirational women from the town. Listen to Dr Bailey’s interview via Podbean or Apple Podcasts.


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