This September marks the launch of a Women’s Academic Network here at BU. The launch event will be hosted by Professor John Vinney and Sue Sutherland, OBE and is open to all BU academic staff.
Why do we need a women’s academic network?
Bespoke networks for women are common across business and within the media, both in the UK and across Europe and the USA. Within the profession, there are networks for women in science and philosophy (for example). These bespoke networks exist in recognition that professional women regularly face gender related challenges in the workplace. Thus women’s networks also function to support women and to raise their profile within organisations and beyond, as well as to lobby on gender inequality issues. Despite decades of lobbying and the notable achievements gained by women in the workplace, women in academia have not managed to make significant gains across the sector. This extraordinary situation has recently been highlighted in Nature and most recently, in the Times Higher Education through a series of features highlighting the seriousness of multiple career obstacles impacting on female academic staff in particular.
How did we create WAN?
The network we are developing here is informed by work I undertook at UEA, as co-Chair of a Research Network for Women. I began by approaching a number of women across the University, and our initial meeting began with a discussion as to how we would envisage such a network and what its purpose would be We then ran a University wide survey, again to establish demand for such a group. We relied on the survey being passed forward and while we recognise that not everyone may have been able to participate, there was sufficient response from colleagues to identify a demand and need for such a forum to be established (see here for results).
What are our aims?
The aims of WAN are to support women and women’s interests, in all their diversity, across BU.
As a distinct and separate entity we will also work alongside and support, Athena Swan, DDE and the Equalities Office.
How will we do this?
Through a programme of events we will be seeking to:
Raise the profile of women across the University
Create a regular networking forum
Identify important career issues for women academics with a view to further consultation
What does WAN look like?
Our current committee (based on attendance at the last committee meeting) is as follows:
Co-Convenors (elected for one year in the first instance)
How can you get involved?
Come to the launch event and learn more about WAN and how you can contribute to the network.
When is the launch?
Where: venue tbc
What time: 5-7pm. Children and other dependents are welcome
To help us with catering and room bookings, please register by contacting Jo Downey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Further details including room and speaker information will be provided nearer the time