High-ranking university for gender equality Glasgow Caledonian united global campuses in IWD celebrations

 July 09, 2019

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Glasgow Caledonian University is ranked within the top 15 universities in the world for gender equality and reducing inequalities in the Times Higher Education’s Impact Ratings, which measures a university’s social impact, research and policies on gender equality, and their commitment to recruiting and promoting women. Equality is at the heart of GCU's mission as the University of the Common Good, and advancing gender equality has been an integral part of delivering its Strategy 2020 objectives.

For International Women's Day, GCU wanted to show what can be achieved when women are supported by visible and enabling leadership.

Successful online campaign featuring Chancellor Dr Annie Lennox

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, celebrated International Women's Day by listing some of the great strides the institution has made to promote gender equality and champion women.

The University's schedule of activities encouraged students and staff to recognise their value and to pledge their own commitment to improving gender equality. One activity saw the creation of an impressive and powerful video featuring GCU's inspirational Chancellor, singer-songwriter, philanthropist and social activist Dr Annie Lennox, a truly committed advocate of global feminism. 

On International Women’s Day she asked: "Don’t you think we can do better to drive gender balance around the world?" and encouraged viewers to support a #BalanceforBetter. 

The video was successfully timed to drive engagement throughout IWD week, peaking on the day itself with significant social media activity and web content. GCU also distributed the digital content in the University newsletter, on its website, its intranet, digital screens and posters across campus to increase reach.

Further videos ran across social media channels featuring engaging messages of gender equality from lecturers and further personnel including the Principal, Professor Pamela Gillies, who is working to improve equality and fairness at the University for the Common Good. She reinforced 40% of the university's Professors are women. Students' Association President Rachel Simpson who has consistently championed gender equality across the University  working in partnership on campaigns tackling gender based violence and providing free sanitary products, also provided an engaging video message.

GCU IWD 2019

Harnessing the university's international reach


GCU's objective built on the success of last year’s IWD campaign and aimed to engage a wider audience of staff and students on its home campus in Glasgow, its other campuses in London and New York and its partners across the world such as African Leadership College. As a show of unity for IWD and its cause, all campuses participated in a photo shoot in the #BalanceforBetter pose.

With the help of its Aurora Women’s Leadership Network, GCU utilised IWD as an opportunity to mobilise its global University community to deliver a week-long programme of activity to promote gender equality. Women in the Network participated in a career development programme to build confidence and self-belief. Meanwhile, the University's ambitious IWD campaign of talks, engagement events and social media activity showcased the success of the programmes in supporting diverse groups of women to drive change across the University.

Hosting discussions led by senior female role models

Glasgow Caledonian University International Womens Day

Alongside its online campaign, GCU also held talks and discussions for staff and students led by senior female role models within the University, incorporating messaging in the backdrop to highlight narratives such as 'The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world'.

The discussions focused on practical challenges women are expected to overcome during their careers, such as caring for large families, raising a child with complex disabilities, and caring for elderly parents and dependants. Another discussion session challenged the view that a work-life balance is an individual, not a social, problem. 

GCU also staffed an IWD Pledge Wall all week which gathered pledges and ideas for enhancing gender equality.

GCU wanted IWD to achieve maximum visibility. The activities took place across the week to involve the greatest number of people, and the University tapped into its network to organise the best possible campaign such as the Chancellor, the Principal and Vice Chancellor, Communications Team, Branding Team, Campus Life Team, Students' Association, People Services, members of the Aurora Network and women and men across the student and staff community.

Glasgow Caledonian equality

Building an even larger platform to showcase IWD 2020 activities

GCU campaign had a unique and lasting impact beyond IWD. After reviewing the success of the campaign, GCU confirmed its commitment to highlighting gender equality activities and successes throughout the year, while maintaining a special focus on IWD itself. IWD also provided a focal point to bring together important and diverse strands of its gender equality work and for this work to be made visible to the global community. IWD also sparked a re-naming one of GCU's Campus Buildings after a woman, which is now under consideration. IWD activity raised this idea through student social media comments, it gained a lot of support and it is now being championed at a strategic level and through the IWD organising committee

GCU feels it has made great strides in recent years for gender equality and and everyone at the University is encouraged to think bigger throughout the year to build an even better platform for IWD 2020.


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