Published on 08 March 2021
It’s International Women’s Day and this year the University of Sunderland’s female professors are having their say.
Just what does IWD mean to them and, after a tumultuous 12 months, how can women keep moving forward in a changing world?
Donna Chambers, Professor of Tourism at the University, said: “IWD 2021 is particularly poignant as it is taking place after a year in which Covid-19 has further highlighted existing racial and gender inequities – so for me IWD 2021 marks a significant moment in time when we should look forward, not to getting back to ‘business as usual’, but to forging a new society that can finally be free from racial and sexual victimisation, discrimination and harassment.”
Professor Lynne Mckenna, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, said: “International Women’s day provides such an important opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and to raise awareness about global gender inequality. This is important. Marking the day encourages people of all backgrounds, ages and genders to reflect on what they can do to make the world a more equal place for everyone.”
Amal Ali Elkordy, Professor of Pharmaceutics, said: “I am very proud to be a confident, successful and achieving woman. I am also proud to be one of several female professors at the University of Sunderland, a workplace that to a great extent minimises the gap between genders and promotes equality and diversity amongst all staff members.
“My promotion would not have come without the support of the managers and colleagues, of all genders, around me and this has greatly benefited me in overcoming challenges and achieving my goals. Therefore, International Woman’s Day means a lot to me as it is the global day to celebrate the achievements of women across the world in different fields.”
Catherine Hayes, Professor of Health Professions Pedagogy and Scholarship, said: "As the mother of three daughters and a female professor in Higher Education, on International Women's Day it is my greatest aspiration that all girls can look forward to a future, where regardless of what they personally conquer, society might afford them the opportunity to succeed; not in spite of themselves but because of who they are and what their experiences have made them."
Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art, said: "IWD makes me think about all kinds of equality issues, at home, at work, and for our fantastic students with their creative solutions. I can really recommend our cross-disciplary RaCE research network for connecting lots of equality-related dots."
Professor Arabella Plouviez, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, said: “If we have learnt one thing during the last year, it is surely that inequality, in all its forms, has a disproportionate impact on people at a time of crisis and this has been very evident for women. In the UK, we know that women are more often the ones managing the complexities of balancing work and care responsibilities and this has been magnified by the pandemic, where care – of children, of the elderly and of the sick, has been so crucial and so visible.
“Therefore, for me, IWD in 2021 is a moment to take stock of that inequality, to think about what we really value and to make sure that re-building a post-pandemic world does not mean retreating to those pre-pandemic inequalities but values and rewards the many roles that women so often quietly take responsibility for.”
Angela Smith, Professor of Language and Culture, said: “If there is one lesson we can learn from the current pandemic, it is that the burden of care still tends to fall on women more than on men. IWD is more important now, as it offers an opportunity to remind us that there is still a lot to be done to achieve equality.”
Stephanie Atkinson, Professor of Design and technology Education, said: “Today is a day to celebrate, be proud of what has been achieved and look forward with optimism.”