Tuesday evening saw the launch event of the Women@Imperial Week in the College Main Entrance. Women@Imperial Week is an annual celebration of the achievements of past and present female staff and students at Imperial.
The event started with a panel discussion titled “Gender Equality: Ongoing Challenges Struggles, Strategies and (Some) Secrets of Success: how can women get to the top?” which featured representatives from Imperial Business Partners. One attendee described it as “absolutely one of the best panel discussions I’ve ever been to”.
The evening also included speeches from James Stirling, Provost of Imperial College London, Professor Dorothy Griffiths, Provost’s Envoy for Gender Equality and Rachel Blythe, ICU Deputy President (Finance & Services).
The speeches captured the feel of the current landscape for gender equality, showing particular self-awareness of the issues Imperial has to overcome following the review into Imperial College’s institutional culture and its impact on gender equality.
From James Stirling spoke about how this year’s campaign has seen a record breaking number of tweets using the hashtag #imperialwomen. Imperial is very nearly at the 10,000 women mark (both staff and students) and whilst there are clearly challenges facing the women here, the representation is definitely something to celebrate.
Professor Dot Griffiths continues to be an incredible force for gender equality at Imperial College and talked about the Women at Imperial event as well as her own experiences. During her speech she introduced the launch of Women At Imperial College: Past, Present and Future, written by Anne Barrett, College Archivist & Corporate Records Manager. The book contains an ‘amazing record of history’ detailing the role women have played in College since its inception and providing a guide to their achievements. In the words of Professor Griffiths “You just have to look at the book to see what you can do”.
The real star of the speeches was Rachel Blythe, who discussed her own experiences growing up in the middle east and the inherent sexism she faced. Blythe also spoke about the women at Imperial that have impacted her time at College, stating “I’ve never felt short of inspiration here”. The evening ended with a performance from the Imperielles, the all-female A Cappella group, who continue to show just how broadly talented the women at Imperial are.
The display boards for the Women@Imperial Exhibition are in the College Main Entrance and feature photographs of female staff as well as some of College’s policies relating to improving gender equality. A selection of the photography can also be found on the College website.