International Women's Day 2021
LSTM celebrates International Women’s Day
Last year’s International Women’s Day was marked at LSTM with a busy lunchtime event linking-up overseas colleagues via video stream to a series of speakers celebrating our strong partnerships with the Global South and the importance of putting gender equity at the forefront of these partnerships. 83 members of staff all crammed into the meetings rooms to be part of the celebration, with many more joining online, the last event of its kind to take place at LSTM in 2020.
Around the same time, the world was beginning to be turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Little did we know that 12 months on - working from home, social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings everywhere would still be the norm. We have seen the disproportionate impact of COVID on colleagues of Black and minoritized ethnicities, and on women - often taking on the main responsibility for home schooling and caregiving. There is mounting evidence from across the sector of the risks this poses to their progression, but we are working alongside colleagues to reduce this impact wherever possible, and will monitor impact long-term.
In May 2020 a black man named George Floyd lost his life at the hands of police brutality in the USA, sparking a series of protests the world over, condemning the racist actions of the police and spreading the message to all that Black Lives Matter.
In light of these two pivotal events the 2021 theme of #ChooseToChallenge could not be more fitting, and LSTM’s campaign asked staff to consider this year's theme and nominate colleagues who choose to challenge gender bias and inequity. The resulting video showcases 10 powerful LSTM staff members who challenge gender bias and inequity at every opportunity, and whose contributions are having impact, not just locally at LSTM but around the globe.
In a comment in The Lancet in June 2020, Dr Angela Obasi called for more rigorous action to address the inequities affecting Black and racially minoritized groups and women in academia, stating that “There can be no Excellence without Equity.”
In her International Women’s Day pledge, Dr Obasi says “There are many barriers still remaining for women in science, but also so much to celebrate in what they have already achieved. For me, the raised hand on IWD is not just a challenge to the former but also a tribute to the latter: students, collaborators, mentors, role models and friends – women who inspire me every day.”
LSTM is committed to diversity and inclusion and to fostering a culture in which everyone can thrive. We choose to challenge gender bias and inequality. We are committed to achieving an Athena SWAN silver award and our AS Chair Dr Eve Worrall and the self-assessment team (SAT) are preparing our action plan and application for submission in April 2022. Dr Worrall says “LSTM has a forward thinking and dynamic staff and student community who are determined to advance intersectional equality. The role of the SAT is to analyse our progress and identify equality challenges, so that the whole LSTM community can respond to them. We #ChoosetoChallenge LSTM to move faster and accelerate progress so that we can be even more proud to work here”
This year we will develop and launch a new Inclusion Strategy, engaging with our colleagues, students and wider stakeholders in its development. It will draw on the work of the Athena SWAN SAT, and upcoming race equality work. We will also undertake a Race Equality Review, the findings of which will also form part of this Inclusion strategy. We know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve our vision for a leading, inclusive workplace.
On International Women’s Day 2020 we reflect on the challenges of the last year and celebrate the contributions and successes of our colleagues.
Happy International Women’s Day to all our colleagues and partners.
On IWD 2021, LSTM staff were asked to consider this year's #choosetochallenge theme and nominate colleagues who challenge gender bias and inequity. The following video showcases 10 powerful LSTM staff members who challenge gender bias and inequity at every opportunity.
Music is provided by Gambian singer/songwriter Nazeem who’s NGO Dole Ndawi empowers youth through music. Nazeem’s work is totally self-funded so please consider making a donation to his One World COVID Ready Response.