Nottingham Trent University celebrates the impressive achievements of Nottingham’s past, present and future influential women
For International Women's Day, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) truly wanted to strike a balance.
Connecting with IWD's theme #BalanceforBetter, NTU wanted to celebrate a ‘balance’ and diversity in representation, a ‘balance’ of early career and senior roles models, and a 'balanced' view that, to achieve true gender equality, men need to be recognised as carers too.
As NTU Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Peck said “Equality is everyone’s business”.
A week of activities celebrating women at NTU
To celebrate the women of NTU's present, the University hosted a conference event, a panel on women in STEM, an IWD-branded grassroots poster campaign led by academics about women who inspired their career, and a discussion about women icons for an audience of students, among other events and activities.
With a focus on diversity, University wanted to celebrate women at all stages of their careers, not just those at senior level. Keynote speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and areas of work, representing academia, professional services, and private industry, and were complemented by a panel discussion on the subject of caring responsibilities which included mid-career female colleagues.
The conference also struck a balance in gender representation with a testimony from a male colleague using flexible working and shared parental leave arrangements, and the benefits these have afforded him as a new father.
Celebrating local historic Nottingham women
NTU wanted the international agenda of IWD to have a sense of place, which was captured in an exhibition, Trailblazing Women of Nottingham, showcasing the achievements of local Nottingham women over the centuries.
In partnership with the University of Nottingham, NTU curated the exhibition of 20 iconic Nottingham such as Professor Cecile Wright, the first black female Professor in the Midlands, Vicky McClure, award-winning actor, and the group of women who helped make misogyny a hate crime in Nottingham.
Wall of Wisdom
The Women's Staff Network organised a range of engagement activities including the 'Wall of Wisdom’ where they encouraged women to write a pearl of wisdom on a brick-shaped tile to help build the wall. A ‘Bags for Balance’ collection - where people donated handbags filled with sanitary products and toiletries for local charity Nottingham Women’s Centre – was organised and conference-goers encouraged to donate. Finally, the network invited University members of any gender to wear purple in support of IWD and to increase visibility of the Network and its allies - which of course was the perfect opportunity for a group photo under the IWD banner.
An promotional video to raise awareness of NTU’s activities was shared which featured NTU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Eunice Simmons who reinforced NTU’s commitment to gender equality. The day also saw the launch of NTU's Employability Women’s Mentoring Network, which pairs students up with mentors to support their careers journeys, access networks and hopefully inspire the next generation of female leaders.
Academic colleagues coordinated a poster project to shine a spotlight on the women who have inspired them; the posters were displayed across the University in all prominent public areas. Here's just one example, Professor Dame Jane Francis who has inspired NTU's Professor Rob Mortimer.
Showcasing the work of the future generation
Celebrating the women of NTU's future included an informal ‘3-Minute Thesis’ session where female PhD students, graduate employees and interns showcased their work. This session provided a platform for young women to promote themselves and their research whilst building networks and connections in a supportive and receptive environment. This event was very popular, with standing room only.
In response to NTU's event, staff and students were truly inspired by women past, present and future - and were once again encouraged to raise awareness about the importance of gender equality.
Amplifying their message via social media
A series of #BalanceforBetter social media messages were also activated, reinforcing the pledges made by many of the University's employees.
NTU's social media pledges were certainly informative and inspiring.