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International Women's Day: Who's inspired you?

by Tahira Majothi on February 19, 2011

Ok so the fact that I have written a blog post highlighting International Women’s Day (IWD) and I’m also a woman is completely coincidental (honest)!

For those of you who are not already aware International Women’s Day is a global event dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women around the World. Its inception begins in the 1900s, with the first observed or dedicated day taking place in America in 1909. This year’s event takes place on Tuesday 8th March.

Like so many social movements borne out of challenging oppression, women were rising up to seek what we would now consider basic democratic rights such as the right to vote as well as better social, economic and work conditions and to have their contributions to their community and society recognised.

The feminist movement and changes in Equality and Work legislation has helped to readdress this inequality to a great extent, but there are still examples today of women being denied rights to education, work, or healthcare as well as being subject to exploitation or abuse. We (in the West) are certainly not always as advanced as we like to think we are in these matters. There are still reports of women in the workplace being paid less than men, or not being represented in any significant numbers across the higher political and business spheres in comparison perhaps to healthier numbers within the public sector e.g. education, health or arts related careers.

I’m sure you can think of lots of women who you admire within your circle of family and friends. For me, it would be my mother, because of her passion for learning, her kind heart, her compassion for others, and for the little things such as reminding me of my responsibility to vote every year in the local elections because of how hard fought these rights were.

I would also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to IWD events taking place this year at Salford University. Perhaps as a starting point, consider how much do you know about our own Chancellor Irene Khan or why do we have buildings named after Lady Hale or Mary Seacole

These are women whose contributions have been publicly recognised by Society, in some cases their peers and the University, and rightly so. So this year, Fiona and I are collaborating with Cristina Costa and the Research and Graduate College to help us celebrate women researchers and research staff that have inspired and continue to inspire you.

We hope its success will lead to it becoming an annual event, and we would like to see you get involved by sending in your nominations. There is a prize award for the winning entry and a coffee morning on the 8th of March where all our researchers (male and female) are warmly invited to attend. Please read on for full eligibility criteria.

We are seeking inspiring stories of women researchers and their journeys into and within academia. To this end we are asking you to nominate a female researcher in your School/Department who meets at least one of the following criteria:

  ·       Overcome a personal barrier

·         Demonstrated social mobility

·         Commitment to public or community engagement

·         Been active in enterprising activities

·         Actively supported the needs of the research community at Salford

Please complete this online nomination form http://virtual-doc.salford.ac.uk/iwd/, with reasons for your nomination. The deadline for nominations is Friday 4rd March 12.00pm.

 Salford Staff Women’s Action Network will also be hosting a celebration of 100 Salford Women on the 8th March as well. This will coincide with the opening of their exhibition, which will then run for a further two weeks.

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