By James Poole
Collingwood College has been selected as the venue for a two-day national conference on women in higher education, due to take place tomorrow.
Organised by the Universities of Durham and Newcastle, the conference has been set up in response to statistics that reveal just 20.5% of professors and 14% of vice-chancellors in the UK are women.
The conference, which is entitled Women and Change in Higher Education: Culture and Careers, aims to discuss the challenges faced by women in higher education such as cultural sexism and race, career progression and maternity leave.
One of the conference’s speakers is Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive of the Daphne Jackson Trust, a charity that returns scientists to their careers after a prolonged break.
Other speakers will include academics from the University of York and Oxford Brookes University.
A conference dinner will also be held at Durham Castle for delegates tomorrow evening.
Professor Catherine Alexander, Dean of Equality and Diversity at Durham University, said:
“It is our pleasure to welcome some of the country’s most prominent female academics to discuss their research and share their experiences.
“Conferences like this are important for bringing about real change.”
Newcastle University’s Professor Judith Rankin, Chair of the Diversity Committee, said:
“We hope that the conference will enable participants to gain knowledge that can bring about cultural change to improve the situation for women in higher education, enhance their own careers and the careers of those in their institutions.”
The organisation of a national women’s conference at Durham follows the University’s Department of Physics gaining Juno Practitioner status in January for improving gender equality in its staff.
Delegates have been invited to use the hashtag #WCHE14 to discuss the event on social media.
Photograph: Marv Gillibrand