News Archive

GWI Membership Marketplace Launch

Thank you again for your participation in the GWI Membership Marketplace Launch Webinar on Saturday 12 September 2020! We were excited to see to see such great participation and enthusiasm for the Membership Marketplace.

Thank you to all who filled out the satisfaction survey. Overall, 86% of participants rated the GWI Membership Marketplace Pilot Programme as “Excellent” or “Very Good”.

 

Below are the slides and chat transcript of the webinar.

The full recording of the webinar is available HERE.

 

If you cannot see the password for the video below,  please login to view it.

 

Student earns prestigious award

Stefanie Doebl - awarded the 2020 British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) Johnstone & Florence Stoney Prize.

Stefanie Doebl has earned a prestigious award for her work on ‘misunderstood’ pain syndrome.

 

An Aberdeen student has been awarded a prestigious prize recognising ‘outstanding academic excellence in postgraduate researchers’ for her work on one of the least understood pain syndromes in medicine today.

Stefanie Doebl, who is in the third year of a PhD based in the Epidemiology Group within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, was awarded the 2020 British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) Johnstone & Florence Stoney Prize.

She was selected for the award for the quality of her research into fibromyalgia, a chronic condition which causes pain around the body, muscle stiffness and fatigue.

It is estimated that between 1.5-2 million people in the UK suffer from fibromyalgia but it remains poorly understood. There is no cure for fibromyalgia but there are therapeutic treatments that can reduce the impact of fibromyalgia symptoms on a person’s life.

Stefanie conducted a range of interviews and a survey with people with fibromyalgia with the aim of finding new ways to improve healthcare delivery for patients.

She drew on her background as a social worker to better understand the experiences of those with the chronic condition.

Stefanie said: “I spent more than a decade in social work with much of the time focused on primary health care and community mental health. I wanted to use my knowledge and experiences for health services research.

“It quickly became apparent that when it comes to designing better healthcare services, there is a real need for improvement for those with fibromyalgia. There is still limited awareness and understanding about this condition, its impact on people’s lives and their healthcare needs.”

Stefanie, who was able to embark on her PhD thanks to an Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) Studentship and Elphinstone Scholarship from the University of Aberdeen, was interviewed by a panel of distinguished women from a range of academic and professional fields before being selected as an award recipient.
She added: “It felt amazing and really special to me personally to be chosen whilst competing with incredibly talented female students across all fields of research.

“Despite the competition, it was a very friendly atmosphere and it has been an honour to see my work chosen by a panel made up of such inspirational women.

“I am delighted that they saw the importance and value of my research and its potential to have a really positive impact on healthcare delivery for fibromyalgia.”

The Prize follows a long line of awards for Stefanie, who is only the second person in her extended family to go to university, and the first to undertake a PhD.

Last year she won the inaugural Images of Research competition hosted by the Postgraduate Research School at the University of Aberdeen and was shortlisted for the 2020 Principal’s Excellence Awards.

“Up until a few years ago, I never imagined I would do research but while working in primary health care social work, I realised the very limited research available for my field and saw the potential to improve this. Allied health professionals have an enormous amount of knowledge, skills and experiences which could help to improve services across the whole healthcare system.

“But I couldn’t have done it without the IAHS Studentship and Elphinstone Scholarship. I’ve also been awarded IAHS Staff Development funds twice to enable me to present at conferences and received a Santander Mobility Award 2020 from the University of Aberdeen. These kinds of support and the BFWG award have allowed me to take my PhD journey even further.”

“The support from my supervisors has been amazing and I would encourage other allied health professionals thinking about doing research to go for it. Having people from a variety of professions makes health services research stronger and more representative.”

Stefanie’s supervisors Professor Gary Macfarlane and Dr Rosemary Hollick said: “We are delighted at this award for Stefanie which reflects the fact that her study is the first of its kind in this common condition and the fact that she has worked incredibly hard”.

Stefanie’s research provides the foundation for a major programme of work, namely ‘PAtient-centred Care for Fibromyalgia: New pathway Design’ (PACFIND), which aims to develop a new model of care for fibromyalgia not only in the UK but also internationally. The wider study was awarded a £1.3 million programme grant from Versus Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK). Further, Stefanie’s qualitative interviews will be used to construct a new section for fibromyalgia on the award-winning website www.healthtalk.org.

BFWG Scholarship Fund

Urban Security Governance in Janakpur, Nepal

Mireille Widmer
PhD researcher

 

GWI/BFWG Majorie Shaw Fellowship 2019

BFWG Research Proposal approved

BFWG Research proposal has been approved and now we need you!

As already announced the BFWG theme for the year has been – Bias against women in the workplace and how education can help them to overcome it.

We now have approval to proceed and the research title is :

Women’s experience of bias in the workplace: the impact of education – an exploratory study.

We are looking for:

1. Women who are working and have some responsibility for others, not themselves being brand new to the world of work.

2. Companies that offer anti-bias training,  either in-house to their employees or commercially offering taught programmed or online ones on overcoming and understanding bias for a variety of companies and work situations.

3. YOU! Please can you ask around for friends or family who have been subjected as a woman, to biased responses at work.

Please could you interview 1 person or 1 company representative in your area. The forms, consent paper, research explanations on how to conduct a case study interview, a guidance paper for interviewers and a report form for your findings are already prepared and ready for use.

NB We are not including university women as we found out a great deal about their problems last year. We need women from other types of employment who have some experience in their jobs.

Report forms for findings are ready too. This venture could really be of interest to Independents who told me at last year’s AGM that BFWG should be more involved in national concerns about women. Here is your opportunity to be involved and make a difference.

It is not important to have undertaken research previously, just to be ready to have a go and enjoy listening to another woman’s story.

Please contact me with offers of help or questions but please consider getting involved Looking forward to hearing from you I hope many will have a go as many hands etc.

The results – we hope to publish and report at a conference and also to do a press release.

Contact me gillian.hilton@bfwg.org.uk

UWE 2020 AGM in Paris

The Board of the University Women of Europe (UWE) have decided to cancel the 2020 AGM in Paris, and instead conduct a virtual AGM on Saturday 19th September.

The BFWG President and I hope to attend via Zoom. If LA’s or Independent Members have issues they wish raised please notify me on jmmorley@bfwg.org.uk.

There should have been elections for Vice Presidents this year but it has been declared ‘Une année blanche’ (Blank year) meaning that all the Board continue in position for an extra year.

The AFFDU, French Association Centennial Celebrations are also postponed, so no dinner with music on the Seine.

Jenny M Morley, CER

Canterbury LA: International fund-raising

Canterbury LA: international fund-raising
Canterbury LA: international fund-raising

In recent years, Canterbury’s international fund-raising has focused on the Hegg Hoffet fund, largely thanks to Christel Moor holding an event every International Women’s Day. In 2018, we raised £278 for HH, in 2019 we raised £115 for HH & this year we have raised £100 for HH. The photos taken by Edwina Neal show an event at Christel’s home.

The Hegg-Hoffet Fund

The Hegg-Hoffet Fund helps refugee graduate women to work in their new country by funding a necessary course, such as professional upgrade or language training.  It is administered by a Committee of Graduate Women International and the funds are held by them in Geneva.

The money comes from the shop held at the GWI Triennial Conference and from donations from members around the world.  It is a valuable part of GWI’s work on a very personal basis and a way for members to take part wherever they live.

In BFWG, the Bring and Buy or the Raffle at the AGM and Conference is allocated to the Hegg-Hoffet Fund, while Christel Moor collects on behalf of the Fund and welcomes contributions at any time from Regions, Local Associations or individual members.

Further details are at

https://graduatewomen.org/what-we-do/grants-fellowships/hegg-hoffet/

Dame Mary Beard in conversation

Dame Mary Beard in conversation with BFWG video

If you would like to view the Mary Beard video recording, please email Sarah Claydon at sarahclaydon@bfwg.org.uk and she will send you a link to the Zoom video.

The video format is mp4 file and as the file is almost 1GB you may be unable to view it on some devices.

4.30pm – 6pm, Tuesday 28th July 2020

Members only

We are delighted to be able to invite you to take part in an online event with Dame Mary Beard, one of the country’s best known academics.  Mary, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, is author of numerous books and papers, well known from television appearances and received a damehood in 2018 for services to classical civilisations.

Mary’s first major book was Rome in the Late Republic (1985) and her last How Do We Look? The Eye of Faith (2018) with many significant works in between on classical civilisations and their art.  And beyond the classics her works include The Good Working Mother’s Guide (1989), Women and Power: A Manifesto (2017) and some of her famous blogs in book form, It’s a Don’s Life (2009) and All in a Don’s Day (2012).  I know many of you will be more than familiar with her work and long running blog/pieces in the Times Literary Supplement and there is a plethora online.

The event will be based around questions, sent in ahead to me, which will be put on behalf of members by our President, Patrice Wellesley-Cole.  There should also be an opportunity to put further questions at the time as discussion develops.

Where a question is put by one person, their name (and LA/location) will be read out by Patrice.  Where similar questions are put by a number of members I will draft the final form and we won’t, if you don’t mind, run through multiple names.  On booking, along with the event link, I will send a very short Zoom meeting protocol, to ensure that the whole thing runs as smoothly as possible, whilst giving members a voice.

CAWG Zoom Meeting

CAWG Zoom meeting 18th June 2020

17 people joined in this first Zoom meeting. Edwina Neal, as host, welcomed everyone with apologies from Jennie Landsberg, Gill Samuels, Mildred Ryder and Krysia Yardley. Edwina explained that this is a trial run, to assess how we manage Zoom. We may need torun our monthly meetings in this way at least during the autumn. If we have to payspeakers fees, we will have to decide about meeting charges, and how to collect them.A provisional programme has been prepared for next year. All the speakers are prepared to deliver Zoom lectures. Details of the programme will be emailed to members with the Membership renewal forms at the end of August.

The Summer Lunch, scheduled for July 26th, at Janet Bentley’s, was mentioned in the following discussions, when Barbara suggested that perhaps we could have a picnic. Janet explained that the committee had given this careful consideration, but even a picnic format would present too many problems. Such an event would be dependent on the weather, and we would be widely scattered around the garden. At present we can only allow 6 people to meet anyway, but that could change.

If regulations permit, we may be able to hold one or more smaller events in the autumn.

Christel Moor updated us about some National concerns.

Jennie had participated in a Zoom meeting for LA presidents. The Worcester Association does not plan to continue as a member of BFWG, but Patrice Wellesley-Cole, (National President) hopes to visit them and discuss the problems.

Mary Beard, noted historian and broadcaster, has offered a free Q&A session for all members of BFWG on July 28th, from 4.30-6.00pm. Questions should be submitted to Carrie de Silva by July 21st. A letter explaining this has since been sent to all members of BFWG.

National AGM will be conducted by email. The reports are on the website. If you need a login, email to ‘office@bfwg.org.uk’,

The Winchester Association has suggested a joint meeting/lunch with Canterbury when we can visit places, at a joint venue mutually convenient.  Later in the meeting, Aisha confirmed that the European meeting planned for Paris in September has been cancelled. Elections have been held over for 12 months.

Members were then asked in turn to share any “lock down experiences”

Geraldine Deas spoke about a television programme “Unprecedented”.

Dorothea Pragnell had spent all the time at home, getting a lot of gardening done She had also followed A television programme, “History of a House,” about Bristol property connected with the slave trade, which was particularly relevant at present. (I was born and brought up in Bristol, and my mother before me, so this programme was particularly interesting. I know the location of the house and was ashamed to realise how little I knew about the slave trade, other than the fact that much of the city’s wealth came from tobacco and chocolate. Bristol University had large endowments from these industries, and if I had done well enough in the 11+, I might have attended Colston Girls School! – Janet B)

Amal Garnham has not been out at all. Occupied herself with her garden, and television. She has also been doing online courses, one, upcoming, entitled ‘Out of Africa’ and another on the playwright and novelist Patrick Hamilton.

Barbara Jackson told us that her garden looks better than ever, but they miss the theatre and cinema. Barbara and Graham have been learning about on-line shopping, after the first attempt took 2 hours. Also engaged with the streaming services from St Stephens Church. The Evensong has been particularly successful, and now has 400-500 viewers.

Janet Bentley. Time has passed surprisingly quickly. A lot of clearing out projects have not been done, but we have done a lot in the garden, and are now picking some soft fruit and vegetables. We have made regular walks around Blean orchards and woods, which has been delightful, and have found places that we did not know existed, after 40 years living here. This week we ventured as far as Walmer for a picnic on the beach.

Ann Temple waiting for a pacemaker to be fitted, which she hopes will happen in about three weeks’ time, therefore she has not left her flat, and has relied on help from her family. She has been knitting for a local church charity, 17 hats, 9 children’s jumpers, and is delighted the wool shop opposite her flat is now open.

Aldwyth Garside, has been reading ” the Way we Live Now” by Trollop. Going for walks. Also had an eye test recently and was pleased to see all the health precautions taken by the opticians. They follow services from St Thomas church, on-line. She misses her choir but has been listening to streamed lunch time concerts from The Wigmore Hall.

Ann Chadwick. Also learning about on-line shopping, after a few mistakes. Active gardener, and is enjoying the fruit from their garden. Reading book about Rosalind Franklin, pioneer in DNA research.

Christianne Crabtree. Makes short trips out as a form of exercise, to local shops, but also to M and S and Waitrose, where the system is carefully regulated. Follows services from St Stephens, and the Cathedral. Takes part in a U3A group, which recently had a meeting in a garden. Finds there is plenty to do,

Rosemary Barford. Also finds plenty to do, with garden, walks, church services, and had cleared out the garage.

Janet Potter. They have stayed at home. Neighbours occasionally have coffee mornings outside their front gardens. Practised the piano each day, which has been useful. Missing contact with the family.

Mary Brown. Working three days a week at Christchurch University. Has had to adapt to on-line teaching. A student on placement at QEQM had died from Covid19

Sigi Martin. Has endured 12 weeks shielding but has been supported by her family.

Aisha Alshawaf. After three weeks off, has worked the rest of the time as a dentist, running emergency services, and also at a community clinic in Ashford.

Penny Hammond. Some work in the dental practice. Carried out a lot of creative gardening, and regular walks with her daughter. Also engaged in a big sort out of family photographs.

Christel Moor. Has been preparing the programme for next year. Done a lot of reading.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in this meeting. We hope to arrange a similar event next month.

CAWG Committee

President’s Virtual Tea Meeting

BFWG President Patrice Wellesley-Cole organised first virtual afternoon tea meeting on 5th June 2020 with Local Association Presidents. It was an informal gathering on Zoom hosted by Winchester President Dr Reefat Drabu.

Meeting was joined by following as seen in the picture taken by Sudha during the meeting:

BFWG Zoom tea Party

From left to right –

Top row: Reefat, Sudha (London and Young Members, News Editor) Kay Howell (Lincoln President), Jasmit (BFWG President-Elect)

Middle row: – Jill Mitchell (Huddersfield President and alternate Northern Regional Rep) Ruth Birnie (standing in for Betty Pritchard, North East President) Jennie Landsberg (Canterbury President and Chair of Finance) BFWG President Patrice Wellesley-Cole

Bottom row: Jean Soper (Sutton Coldfield President), Carole Smith (Norfolk and Norwich) Carole had some problems getting in but could hear what everyone said and made a helpful written contribution afterwards.

Meeting was productive and thought provoking. Recruitment of members and retaining them afterwards was discussed and everyone agreed to not only lookout for universities but also other working women. Kay Howell shared the experience of Book Group, Committee Meeting and Coffee morning over Zoom. Norfolk and Norwich seem to be particularly successful at getting new members, gaining five just before lock down, but are getting nowhere with younger graduates or contacts with the university. There was a ‘model’ for recruiting and setting up a group at Cambridge. However, UEA links didn’t happen.

Another topic discussed was about the resolution One Women One Vote which was taken positively by everyone and seen as a step forward. It has possibility to increase membership.

Suggestions were considered over having a Zoom speaker near the virtual AGM but keep it open to all members. Mary Beard came up top list and President Patrice have already secured her for a Q&A session 28th July 2020. It was agreed that members send their questions in advance to facilitate the smooth running of the session as well as to look professional.

Ideas were welcomed on Twinning. Sudha shared her experience of GWI Twinning Webinar and circulated her report for possible actions BFWG can take. Once we pick up from the Twinning options, GWI will facilitate finding partner and any other possible help.

The idea of regular meetings over Zoom was appreciated and meeting ended on a positive note!

Sudha Srivastava
Editor, BFWG

2019 BFWG AGM

Arranged by Lincoln and Lincolnshire LA

Nominations for Office 2020

British Federation of Women Graduates

Application for Position – Vice President 2020/23

Margaret Middlemass

Member of Leeds Association – How long? 30 years

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation: BSc Combined Sciences Leicester University 1975

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside: Former BFWG treasurer, former CIR, former Scholarship Fund trustee;  treasurer for the IFUW conference in Manchester 2007.  Also a Soroptimist (several years on the regional executive) and associate member of WI – both 6-0 organisations working with BFWG.  I am a Chartered Accountant still working full time.

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position? I have experience of collaborative working within the management team and other committees of BFWG and the international bodies, and have worked with our incoming President previously.  This is a challenging time in the Federation’s history and I look forward to helping the leadership team pursue a future role and meaning for the organisation.

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: Leeds

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you: Lincoln    

Yvonne Makwali - BFWG

Application for Position – Eastern Region Regional Rep

Yvonne Makwali

LA or Independent Member – How long? Two years

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation: BSc Business Management, University of Sunderland, 2014. MSc Data Analytics and Operations Management, ongoing.

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside: Up until recently, I was Trustee and Board of Directors of an international facing charity. Currently a trustee at Hillingdon Community Trust

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position? In my day to day job working in the grant making sector, part of my role is about raising the profile of the charity and getting as many charities are as eligible to access grant support. I would use the skills I have to engage with both new and establish members alike on the work of BFWG.

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: Greater London

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you: Canterbury

Application for Position – Eastern Region Alternate

Gail Ruth Sagar

LA or Independent Member Greater London – How long? 11 years

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation: B.Sc. Econ  LSE  1965

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside: I ran my own PR consultancy business before selling it. I continued working as an independent consultant until 2006 and bring an understanding of how business works to the organisation. I was Regional Rep for Mercia and Wales so can give a lot of support and I have an understanding of BFWG’s needs from my recent work on the Management Team. As programme coordinator for Greater London I am also aware of the pressures to deliver to members.

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position? As stated, having once been a regional rep I can give relevant support to the incumbent

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: Greater London

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you:Canterbury

Application for Position – Trustee of the Sybil Campbell Collection

Alys Julia Blakeway

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation: BA Class II in Literae Humaniores, Oxford University, 1974

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside: Qualified librarian working in the Hampshire Local Studies Collection

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position? Experience as librarian in a special collection (i.e., the Hampshire Local Studies Collection).

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: n/a. Appointed by the Sybil Campbell Collection Trust, seeking approval by BFWG Council

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you: n/a

Application for Position – Governor of FfWG

Aisha Alshawaf

Member of Canterbury Association – How long? 10 years

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation: BDS (Bachelor in Dental Surgery) Baghdad University/Iraq 1986

FDSRCS (Eng.) Fellowship in Oral Surgery awarded by The Royal College of Surgeons of England 1996

MFGDP  (UK),Membership in Faculty of General Dental Practitioners 2004

Diploma in Implant Dentistry (RCS)Eng. 2014    

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside: I have considerable experience at local level being the past president of my local association, and on a national level immediate past vice president. I am currently vice president of the European regional group UWE (University Women of Europe).

Professionally I was the regional representative of the British Association of Oral Surgeons, currently a member of the managed clinical network for KSS (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) Oral Surgery provision.

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position? I believe I have the necessary skills and expertise to fulfil the requirements of the role; in particular strong organisational skills and experience in team work. My  commitment and experience in different roles within the BFWG on a local, national and international level will aid in supporting the charity and maintain its historic links with BFWG.

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: Canterbury & District

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you: Winchester

Application for Position – Sybil Campbell Collection Trustee

Caroline de Silva (Carrie)

LA or Independent Member – How long? Independent – approx. 8 Years

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation:

LLB (Hons), University of Leicester, 1987

MA, Keele University, 2000

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside:

Have been a VP of the BFWG for nearly three years and take a keen interest in the history of the organisation.  Have also written and presented on the history of early women lawyers which, of course, drew me to Sybil Campbell beyond her BFWG link.

Have an overarching interest in libraries and archives as an academic and through both current historical work and through my MA (Local History), although my academic teaching has been in Law and Taxation.

Am a supporter (paid) of the Independent Libraries Association and am trying to visit them all.

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position?

Experience in using a wide range of libraries and archives both in the UK and overseas which, hopefully, gives a perspective on the Collection.

Experience in the operation of academic institutions, such as that in which the Collection sits.

Experience in working on non-profit teams, e.g. the management team of the British Federation of Women Graduates.

An awareness of the role of a trustee in overseeing the work of the Trust.

Above all an open mind, a willing hand and a willingness to help with whatever is required.

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member nominating you: N/A – Appointed by Trustees

LA or (if you are an Independent member) member seconding you: N/A

Application for Position – Trustee of the BFWG Scholarship Fund

Krista McLennan

Krista is an Independent member of BFWG who joined in 2020

Degree, Awarding Institution and Year of Graduation:

BSc (Hons), University of Portsmouth (Sparsholt College), 2005
MSc, University of Exeter, 2007
PhD, Northampton University, 2013

Experience Relevant to Your Application within the BFWG and Outside:

I was the treasurer for the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) from 2013 to 2017.

I am Deputy Head of Department for Biological Sciences, University of Chester.
Managed Animal Welfare Indicators Project at the University of Cambridge during post-doc (2013-2015).

Supervisor to undergraduate and postgraduate (including MSc and MRes) students, including guiding them through funding applications.

What do you think you can you bring to the BFWG in the Office/Position?

My journey through academia has not been easy but I have been provided with the support, personally and professionally, to continue to strive to be the best I can. I think this gives me an excellent position to understand what many of our members have gone through themselves. I am passionate to see as many women graduating with a good quality degree, and to not be held back by any bias or other constraints to be the best they can be. Particular skills include project management skills, financial management skills, research skills, knowledge transfer and outreach communication skills.

Appointed by the Scholarship Fund Trustees

Sudha Srivastava BFWG

Application for Position – CIR Alternate

Sudha Srivastava

Norfolk and Norwich LA celebrate International Women’s Day

Norfolk and Norwich Association celebrated International Women’s Day by inviting Dr Anne Edwards from the John Innes Centre to talk to us about her work in Africa.

Her lecture was entitled ‘Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet’. Dr Edwards told us about the course, presented in Kenya at the Pwali University to 22 delegates from ten African nations. It enabled the undergraduates to develop research skills to examine plant diseases, pests and soil problems particular to their countries.

This was the second such course supported by the John Innes institute; the first being in Tanzania.

The afternoon ended with a beautiful presentation of the birds and animals found in Tsarvo National Park.

Women academics still feel gender-based pressure

Research from the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) highlights the problem areas

Despite legislation for equal treatment irrespective of gender and the valuable contribution made by the Aurora and Athena Swan initiatives, women in academic life still feel that their career progression is threatened by entrenched bias, both conscious and unconscious. According to a research project completed by the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG), this threat particularly applies to older men who still seem to dominate decision-making in many UK universities. In a 2017 EU report on progress towards gender equality at work, the UK had made no progress on this issue in the last ten years.

Underscoring this situation in academia is women’s lack of appropriate training as leaders, lack of support and mentoring,  women’s own conditioning to accept the roles assigned to them rather than fight for more career-defining opportunities, and by obfuscation on the gender pay gap.

The project was inspired by a BFWG Colloquium held in 2011, addressed by women who had reached the top in academia. This examined issues such as women’s reluctance to challenge the status quo, the complexities of reconciling a career with childcare, the involvement of supportive men  and the need to ensure that head hunters are fully briefed on the women available to be put forward for top jobs.

Sixty one women at various ages and stages in their academic careers, from different universities and disciplines, were interviewed. It was apparent that younger women faced some of the same issues as the older interviewees but that in recent times men and women at the beginning of their academic careers were facing particular challenges. The research emphasis was on feelings rather than numbers with some surprising data gathered on being overlooked for promotion and unable to get papers published as women.

With 45% of academic posts now filled by women it is disappointing to find that at many universities women still struggle to make themselves heard and appreciated. Society has changed so that most people now accept in principle that gender-based discrimination is unacceptable, but the fact remains that respondents across all age groups, especially among the younger ones, pointed to “unconscious bias”.  While the law protects against discrimination it is hard to implement on the ground, and women are still less assertive in demanding fair treatment. While the blatant sexism, harassment and lack of promotion opportunities have disappeared today’s lack of job security, a seemingly uncaring system which demands undeliverable work levels and publication demands and the divide between teaching only and research positions have replaced them and affect all genders. There is still some way to go for real equality to be achieved and as a result the losers here are not just women but the whole higher education sector.

Further information on BFWG can be obtained from Gail Sagar, gailsheridan75@hotmail.com, 07786 577425

Further information on the research process and findings can be obtained from Dr Gillian Hilton

gillianlshilton@gmail.com, 07527 145813

Note: The British Federation of Women Graduates was established in 1907 in Manchester to advance the careers of women in academia and is the voice of women graduates in England. As a founding member of Graduate Women International (GWI) it promotes the necessity of education for women and girls globally. It provides money for Ph.D students to complete their research at UK institutions. It is also a member of University Women of Europe (UWE).

Academic Women and the challenges they face

Research from the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) highlights the problem areas

Introduction
The British Federation of Women Graduates’ (BFWG) qualitative research on women in academia has found that gender issues still exist, though these can also affect men. Legislation on equal treatment irrespective of gender plus the valuable contribution made by the Aurora and Athena Swan initiatives has seen progress but women in academic life still feel that their career is threat-ened by entrenched bias, both conscious and unconscious. This threat is particularly prevalent in older men who still seem to dominate decision-making in many UK universities. In a 2017 EU report on progress towards gender equality at work, the UK had made no progress on this issue in the previous ten years. Underscoring this situation in academia is women’s lack of appropriate training as leaders, lack of support and mentoring, women’s own conditioning to accept the roles assigned to them rather than fight for more career-defining opportunities, and by obfuscation on the gender pay gap.

This project was inspired by a BFWG Colloquium held in 2011, addressed by women who had reached senior roles in academia. This examined issues such as women’s reluctance to challenge the status quo, the complexities of reconciling a career with childcare, the involvement of support-ive men and the need to ensure that head hunters are fully briefed on the women available to be put forward for top jobs.

Sixtyone women at different ages and stages in their academic careers, from different universities and disciples, were interviewed. It was apparent that younger women faced some of the same is-sues as the older interviewees but that in recent times men and women at the beginning of their ac-ademic careers were facing similar challenges. The emphasis was on feelings rather than numbers with some surprising data gathered on being overlooked for promotion and unable to get papers published as women.

With 45% of academic posts now filled by women it is disappointing to find that at many universities women still struggle to make themselves heard and appreciated. Society has changed so that most people now accept in principle that gender-based discrimination is unacceptable, but the fact re-mains that respondents across all age groups, especially among the younger ones, pointed to “un-conscious bias”. While the law protects against discrimination it is hard to implement on the ground, and women are still less assertive in demanding fair treatment. While the blatant sexism, harass-ment and lack of promotion opportunities have disappeared today’s lack of job security, a seeming-ly uncaring system which demands undeliverable work levels and publication demands and the di-vide between teaching only and research positions have replaced them and affect all genders. There is still some way to go for real equality to be achieved and as a result the losers here are not just women but the whole higher education sector.

Questions about women’s equality in higher education institutions (HEIs) have been asked since the early 20th century and it is pertinent that women doing the same course as men were not granted degrees universally in the UK until the 1950s. Gender discrimination was an underlying theme of the 2011 BFWG Colloquium on Female Leadership in Higher Education: Overcoming the Barriers – real or imagined’? This identified women’s reluctance to take risks plus their lack of self-esteem as factors in a very real situation. That women still tell stories in 2019 of discrimination, being overlooked for promotion and being unable to get their papers published indicates that, while some progress may have been made, it is by no means enough. It should concern everyone that today, despite the fact that 45% of all academic staff are women, 78% of professors are men. Women make up only 22% of professorships in the UK.

The type of entrenched attitudes which still exist were dramatically illustrated in 1997 in the USA. Stanford neurobiologist Professor Barbara Barres transitioned into Ben and overheard her work be-ing denigrated – “Ben Barres is much better than his sister”. This enraged him and he championed women encountering bias in academia until he died in 2017. A colleague who transitioned the other way found her invitations to present papers and join committees declined, her work and her leader-ship qualities taken much less seriously.

The sample

Interviewees were sought from all UK institutions. Sixty women of different ages, at different stages of their careers including retired, in different disciplines and from different university types were in-terviewed. While the large majority were from a white ethnic background, black African and black and Asian English were present as a small minority. Levels in the hierarchy covered vice chancel-lors, deans and chairs, heads of departments, senior managers, those seeking work or having a teaching role alongside their PhD studies and those in temporary positions after their PhD (post docs). Semi-structured interviews using open ended questions were carried out by BFWG mem-bers, who were either already experienced researchers or were trained via paper instructions and email. They were conducted by Skype, phone or face to face and collated by the lead researcher who examined them for emerging themes, commonalities and differences. A Research Ethics Committee was involved at all stages.

Methodology: Qualitative v quantitative

According to many women researchers, when it comes to research men have an almost obsessive focus on numbers. Women often prefer to look at the factors between or underneath the numbers, extracting an arguably more realistic picture of the subject they are researching. For this reason, the BFWG project is purely qualitative, creating an opportunity for respondents to express all as-pects of their experiences and feelings related to the project which used purposive sampling across a wide range of disciplines. Content and theme analysis was then used to pinpoint similarities and differences between older and younger women. For some interviewees this was a cathartic experi-ence indicating the depth of feeling and frustration experienced. By including questions around the extent of support received, the impact of their domestic situation and encouragement to be ambi-tious, the project was able to extract the reality which many women face which cannot be ex-pressed in numbers.
The stories were examined for the similarities and differences faced in these women’s careers and for any themes from the ideas presented. These were compiled to produce a coherent narrative.

Summary of results

There are more similarities today in the challenges faced by men and women than previously occurred and employers need to reconsider their attitudes to all staff. This is within a climate of too few permanent posts available and the reluctant acceptance of most to sign short term contracts. This has to be seen in the context of funding for universities, especially those who are under-endowed.
The gender pay gap still exists but, because money is a dirty word in this context, it is not trans-parent. The 2017 EU report on gender equality, supported by detailed information from the Fawcett Society in 2018, placed the UK low in the ratings, on a level with Slovakia and the Czech Republic and well behind Scandinavia, the Netherlands and France. A subsequent 2019 report on UK univer-sities cited major gaps in both pay and bonuses, much of this down to the lack of women in higher paid jobs. The largest gap was 33.7%.
Significant differences in starting salaries of early career researchers were found with attendant lack of support and mentoring. This depends on the university concerned and the discipline chosen. For example, in the sciences, maths and engineering women are still not progressing to senior grades.
Pregnancy and maternity leave can result in many women being made redundant with little re-dress and, according to the Fawcett Society, paternity leave has not been very successful in re-dressing the balance while flexible working is often not available, despite provisions being made in law.
Harassment in the workplace is still very much of a reality. The TUC’s Everyday Sexism Project says that “52% of women have experienced it in some form and 80% did not report it to their em-ployer “(Fawcett Society 2018).
In-built male prejudice still exists in publishing research. Even today a male name on a research paper means it is more likely to be published These biases can be implicit but they affect women’s career progression.
There has been an exponential rise in teaching only contracts, even when someone expresses a desire to do research and this seems to affect women more than men. This could be an uninten-tional outcome of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). What is certain is that the closer the REF the greater the increase in teaching only contracts
Women are pressured into taking on mundane, time-consuming roles which did nothing to im-prove their promotion prospects and which men refused to do.
Athena Swan has made some progress, depending on the institution and discipline but early career responders said that having a family was all but impossible.

Some story excerpts

• Although I finished my career at senior management level I should have pushed more for Profes-sorship – I had the publications, had made a lot of money for the university, been involved with European grants and worked in Europe for the university and other bodies. However, no-one en-couraged me to go for it. The environment was not favourable for women. I regret that. (Retired Head Dept Education 1992Uni)
• I would have liked to make Dean. I was a Deputy but had no real encouragement (Retired Head Dept Sociologyi).
• I wish I had started earlier. I would like to make Professor but am not sure I have the energy now (Principal L Law 50s)
Note: all these had children and were from different disciplines
• I like where I work but think that the standard of student ability has dropped considerably in the last few years. There is not the same ability to analyse critically and I think that just doing teaching would bore me after a while (Senior L International Relations 30s), also with an unpaid post as a research assistant in a Russell Group university)
• I applied for 45 Post Doc posts before I got this one (Post Doc Physics 20s)
• I can only do this because my husband works in the City and earns a very high salary (Post Doc Vet Sciences 30s)
• I am satisfied with the work but not the precarious nature of the work with semester only hourly paid contracts. The pay doesn’t equal the work done and I cannot plan for the future (Lecturer, t Business 50s)
• The work/life balance is poor, the amount of work is unsustainable, most people (but not me) work ridiculous hours and this is increasing if anything – totally different than 20-30 years ago (Reader Engineering (40s)
• I am very angry I was never awarded Senior Lecturer level. There was total discrimination against women, gender discrimination was rife. I was the first woman in the subject area (Lecturer Engi-neering Retired)
• I was told (by a man) I would never get promotion in that university and not to bother to try. I had to change jobs to a different university. There it was totally different. was supported and encour-aged to apply for and achieve promotion (Prof. Education Retired)
• In that position (Post Doc) there is no entitlement to maternity leave. I did get pregnant but lost the baby. Now I have a more permanent post and I am still worried about maternity leave and asking for part time work. The top people are all men, though 75% of the students are female now and there is no support for family life. Clinical work starts at 8.30 and finishes at 18.00, too late for pick up from a nursery and there is no child care provision on site, despite us being in an isolated position away from such services (Lecturer Vet. Sciences 30s)
• I did not try to get promotion until the children were older and I felt I could cope so am slow in my progression. I was a Deputy for ages. (Dean Social Sc 40s)
• I love the work but can’t get a post doc place full time. I am working on two different projects, very stressful, and am in my thirties (Post Doc research Sciences 30s)
• It took ages to get a post doc position and some of the interviews were awful. I think because it was for Physics there was an anti-female bias and I am also an Asian Post Doc Physics 20s)
• The best thing to do is to work overseas as there is more respect for academics and better sala-ries than in this country (Senior L Health 50s)
• The environment in higher education is hostile, a blame culture, always the fault of the individual here (Lecturer Social Work 30s)
• I feel under threat in academia with government funding cuts and the devaluation of performing arts education in schools (Senior L. Drama 30s)
• I’m frustrated like others with the increasing bureaucracy of the institution (Prof Sociology 60s)
• No allowance is made for the time writing and publishing takes (Senior L Education 50s)
• I work in Engineering as the only woman and have the only telephone on my desk which I have to answer. All callers assume a woman who answers is the secretary (Researcher Engineering 20s)
• At my initial interview to join the maths department as the only woman I was interviewed by seven white men, all with beards. At the time I did not even question whether this was right but now I do everything I can to ensure that interview panels have a gender balance and possibly at least one representative from an ethnic minority (Prof. Maths 50s)
• I had to explain to my appraiser (also my head of department) that I could not take on any more work by showing him my teaching timetable at which he was astonished, apologised and with-drew his suggestion (Prof. Maths 50s)

Women’s challenges

Unconscious bias
While older women talked about discrimination, younger ones tended to use the phrase “uncon-scious bias” while two young women said that as a result of women only programmes for progres-sion there is now discrimination against men. However, this was the exception. Most cited maternity leave and child care as major hurdles with negative attitudes among some university leaders who regarded it as a waste of time to bring returnees up to speed, especially in the sciences, psycholo-gy, health sciences and engineering. Some universities were leading the way by banning early and late meetings and expecting men to take their full paternity leave but these were still exceptions.
Unrealistic expectations
There were strong feelings from all age groups and HEI types about the pressure of academic work, the unrealistic expectations of their employers and the effects on their lives. These were not necessarily gender related – rather the desire to achieve a work life balance by all. While older women tended not to have had children, younger women don’t want to make this sacrifice and it was pointed out that academia may be losing a lot of talent to industry where pay and hours were so much more realistic.
Research approaches
Bitter complaints were registered from women in science and psychology regarding men taking over in the choice of research approaches, favouring quantitative techniques whereas many wom-en (and some men) prefer a qualitative approach which is often dismissed as non-scientific. Some women moved universities to overcome this problem but the tide of male dominated research was against them.
Sexual harassment
How to deal with sexual harassment remains an issue, though more men now do their best to pro-tect vulnerable young women who are offered preferment or publishing opportunities in return for sex.
Chauvinism
The familiar shouting down or ignoring of women in meetings after which the points they made are greeted favourably when proffered by male colleagues remain an issue. Attempts to pacify women when they complain revolve around their “attractive” appearance rather than their ability (“that dress is very pretty and makes you look lovely”).
Women’s expectations
Some women seem not to notice evidence of gender discrimination even when they are providing it. One respondent asserted that she suffered no discrimination and that her treatment was always fair, yet five minutes later complained that when she first arrived, she was expected to make the tea.
Networking
Building productive networks still seems to be better done by men. Many women mentioned the need to be noticed, a problem when they are physically isolated. “I am in a building a good distance and across a road from the main building where all the important people are and there is not time to get there for coffee or lunch, so most of the people there have no idea who I am or what I do It is not good for my career but I can’t do anything about it” (Researcher Engineering 20s).

Promotion structures
Several women mentioned unclear promotion structures which differ between universities and do not favour those who are self-deprecating. Possibly because of conditioning, many women feel that if they don’t meet every criterion, they have no right to apply for promotion. However, universities which have panels to assess draft applications and give feedback on how to improve were highly praised.
Assertiveness
Lack of assertiveness was also to blame for the pressure on women to take the soft, caring time-consuming roles which men would refuse to do on the basis of not having the time.
Juggling for low pay
Many raised the difficulties at Post Doc stage of doing others’ research and having to juggle differ-ent posts at the same time for very low pay, though they were unanimous in saying that this was the same for men in their first jobs
Gender pay gap
The secrecy surrounding the gender pay gap, particularly at higher levels, concerned many. Re-spondents acknowledged that women often accept what they’re offered while men tend to negoti-ate a better salary.

Possible solutions

• While many universities now offer courses to empower women to take charge of their careers these need to be tailored to the demands of academia. Too often they are delivered by people coming from the business world who do not appreciate the context of academic life.
• Create a climate of transparency on pay and promotion prospects by better enforcement of legal frameworks already in position
• Train male academics in how to behave in order to create an environment in which their female colleagues can thrive rather than being discriminated against, put down and ignored
• While there are presently uneven results across universities, those with a pro work/life balance culture should be seen as a model to be rolled out throughout academia
• Encourage universities to be more proactive in mentoring and developing their staff (both male and female) with a model appraisal system which all can use
• Initiate blind reviews of papers for publication to remove the seeming bias against female authors
• Create exciting teaching preparation programmes – “I did not finish it as it was so poor”
• Introduce positive discrimination to create opportunities for non-white candidates and those from a working-class background

Then and now

Most respondents enjoyed their academic roles, even those with caveats as to how things could be improved. However, it was becoming increasingly difficult for both men and women to obtain per-manent status as opposed to short term contracts – a problem which is a very recent manifestation.
Today’s academics are expected to absorb high administration loads following the money saving removal of admin staff including having to learn new computer programmes to record data, and this tends to affect women more as they are often burdened with mundane, time-consuming roles which the men refuse to accept
The younger respondents all cited the difficulty of managing a family life while pursuing an aca-demic career and, while there are some illuminating exceptions, this remains an issue. In past times women academics ended to have chosen a career over children but today’s women do not accept that this is a way forward for them. Therefore, the ability to attend conferences and network de-pended on having a supportive partner at home
Many cited the desirability of child care facilities within the university but wondered whether this would be even discussed until more women were leading universities
Changes in the law plus training and support initiatives had made things better in the opinion of older respondents but younger women felt that the paternalistic, patronising culture within universities still created problems for them with regard to promotion and valuing of their contributions.
Whereas men in the past had left it to women to field all the caring roles, today’s generation strongly felt that this should be shared more evenly and there was evidence of some universities taking a proactive stance in this regard
Today the law encourages women to complain if they feel they have suffered gender-based dis-crimination but, some universities excepted, there was little actual support from the hierarchy, es-pecially the human resources departments and this is a practical issue which needs addressing
The excellent Athena Swan initiative was influential but its effect was often patchy across universi-ties and disciplines, with departments sometimes employing rather a tick box approach. Older women saw this as another element in supporting women’s progress which they would have appre-ciated.

Conclusion

With 45% of academic posts now filled by women it is disappointing to find that at many universities women still struggle to make themselves heard and appreciated. Society has changed so that most people now accept in principle that gender-based discrimination is unacceptable, but the fact re-mains that respondents across all age groups, especially among the younger ones, pointed to “un-conscious bias”. While the law protects against discrimination it is hard to implement on the ground, and women are still less assertive in demanding fair treatment. While the blatant sexism, harass-ment and lack of promotion opportunities have disappeared today’s lack of job security, a seeming-ly uncaring system which demands undeliverable work levels and publication demands and the di-vide between teaching only and research positions have replaced them and affect all genders. There is still some way to go for real equality to be achieved and as a result the losers here are not just women but the whole higher education sector.

Townswomen’s Guild 90th Anniversary

The Townswomen’s Guild is celebrating their 90th Anniversary.

As a token of the contribution BFWG President, Patrice Wellesley-Cole has made in exemplifying The Townswomen’s Guild ethos and values, they have made Patrice an Honorary Member and awarded her a badge.

The Townswomen’s Guild has proudly built on its suffragist (not suffragette) Foundation to support women in order to empower them to make their own lives and those of others better. This year is a special year in its history – its 90th Anniversary. The Townswomen’s Guild remains a nationwide forum still campaigning to improve the lives of women.

The bestowing of this honour on the current BFWG President indicates the bonds being forged between the members of 6-0 – the six leading women’s’ organisation in the UK.

Supporting research through scholarship

The University of Chester has recently renewed its commitment to supporting scholarships for women studying in challenging research scenarios.

The University and the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG), have re-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations. The document, which was first initiated in 2014, was signed by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, and Professor Cynthia Burek, Professor of Geoconservation at the University of Chester, and Chair of the Trustees of the British Federation of Women Graduates Scholarship Fund.

Professor Burek said: “I am delighted that we are continuing to work alongside the BFWG in this way. This MoU promotes understanding between two institutions aimed at improving education, especially at the tertiary level. The successes so far have been through exchanging educational courses and training, academic publications and, perhaps the most successful has been sponsoring and supporting an Afghan female PhD student from Kabul. She is now in her last year finishing her research on ‘An autoethnographic study of the obstacles for Afghani women in career advancement – barriers and resilience strategies at the workplace.’ This work has already been presented at the Scottish parliament and at international conferences.

“The University of Chester has also had students who have been the recipient of grants in the past when, for example, Foot and Mouth Disease prevented students from doing fieldwork or when divorce forced a student into financial difficulty. I am proud to say that this MoU was unique when it was first initiated and several other universities have followed the example set. Through cooperation and collaboration, we have achieved success in furthering equality in difficult research situations.”

The British Federation of Women Graduates through its wholly owned charity (Funds for Women Graduates) and its own Scholarship Fund gives away over £250,000 a year, to  deserving, final year female PhD students in cases of both academic achievement and hardship, often to those who have an emergency which is through no fault of their own, such as bereavement, termination of funding from their own country or medical problems. This is a hard fought competition with several hundred applications per annum.

Westminster Seminar

On 14th November, members of BFWG gathered from across the country to attend the Westminster Seminar sponsored this year by Baroness Hazel Byford DBE.

The BFWG President welcomed everyone and introduced the Baroness who was involved for many years with the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) and was also lay canon at Leicester Cathedral, Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers and a member of the House of Lords since 1996. Baroness Byford lives in Leicester and has four honorary degrees, but she left school at 16 and now is often asked which University she attended – to which she replies, ‘The University of Life’. When giving us background about how the House of Lords works, she mentioned that you cannot work in an empty house and stressed the importance of ‘living in the real world’. She feels that Food, Farming and Rural Affairs must have flexibility.

First speaker:

Professor of Immune Cell Biology, Janet Lord’s department is based in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. She is a scientist working closely with medical doctors. The hospital is a paperless hospital (an iPad at the end of the bed) and it has 650 volunteers. Speaking about how life expectancy has changed and showing us many wonderful slides and statistics, she mentioned that in 1917, George V sent out nine congratulatory cards to people celebrating 100 years of age. Now the Queen will send over 13000 such letters. However, health span is less than life span. In targeting some of the issues around ageing, research indicates that we need to eat less and exercise more. In Okinawa (the longest-living community in the world) people believe in leaving the table slightly hungry. As you get older leg strength is important because you lose muscle mass. Trials into this are going on at present with 125 cyclists. Research has shown that statins can help with the fight against an increase in inflammation which is one factor in the ageing process. Further trials across the world have to be carried out but there has been success with reversing the ageing process to some degree, using drugs already known.

Second speaker:

Councillor Janet Clowes from Cheshire East Health and Well-being Board, spoke about the importance of improving health and the NHS England Long Term Plan, a five-year plan based on a joint health and well-being strategy with an integrated care system. She mentioned the social determinants of health: individual lifestyle, social and community lifestyles, living and working conditions, and general socio-economic surroundings. Income is also a factor along with cultural and environmental conditions. Social isolation can have a bad impact on your life. Janet spoke about having to assess need, not want, and produced a map nicknamed a ‘tartan rug’ which was an evidence based public health indicator as to where the differing areas of need were. This helped with conversations and decision making with their partners.

Both the speakers took many questions from the floor. The vote of thanks was given by BFWG VP Carrie de Silva. Baroness Byford and the speakers joined with members for afternoon tea in the Attlee Room with a view of the Thames from one of the windows.

Pat Brown, Sutton Coldfield

Canterbury and District LA Fundraising Christmas Lunch

Canterbury LA work hard at their fund raising.

This year, at their Christmas lunch, Canterbury and District raised £26O for The Women’s refuge. In addition £200 of toiletries were collected for this charity.

In 2018 a total of £1,168 was raised:

£530 Scholarship Fund
£278 Hogg Hoffet Fund
£150 Keyne’s pride
£210 Nappy fund / Women’s refuge

 

Many congratulations to Canterbury LA!!!

Recruitment visit to Cambridge

Gail Sagar and Dr. Gillian Hilton VPs gave a talk to women graduates at Cambridge Uni, to explain what BFWG stands for and its work with graduate women, including our awards and grants system and the Research Presentations Day.

In addition some information was also shared about our project on Academic Women with the audience, who wère around 40 in number. A great deal of interest was demonstrated and questions asked. Some of the audience had heard of BFWG, but most had not.

It was very good to be supported by the Student Service’s team at the uni in our attempt to spread information about us and the advantages of membership of our organisation.

Gillian Hilton VP

Educating Women to overcome bias at work

Educating women to overcome bias at work  – our theme for the year.

During the research on Academic women so many respondents, old and young complained about the biased attitudes at work to the female sex, especially after having children. Out and out bias was freely expressed in places and assumptions made that women were there to make the tea and if they could touch type, they must be the new secretary etc. Many women said that they and men in particular, should be obliged to undergo programmes that challenge conscious and unconscious bias towards women.

So BFWG are looking for women from a variety of professions, outside of Higher Education in any area of employment, who would be willing to talk about their experiences and more importantly asked what can we do to educate women to overcome these often accepted and ignored attitudes.

So BFWG member again we are asking you to step up to the face and become involved as so many of you did last year, doing a great job. Do you know anyone who is involved in training programmes on this subject?

Please let us now if you do as we are also looking for speakers for the AGM and in the new year I will be asking people to listen to stories of bias from women they know. Please, we want another success to put BFWG on the map; do help us, even one story will make a difference to the result. Thank you. Gillian Hilton VP