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International Women’s Day 2020 - “an equal world is an enabled world”

International Women’s Day (IWD) seeks to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

This year the campaign highlights that an equal world is an enabled world and that we all have a part to play. The campaign asks individuals to respond to the question ‘how will you help forge a gender equal world?’

So what are we doing here at Heriot-Watt? At Heriot-Watt we are committed to addressing gender inequality within our Strategy 2025 under our Flourishing Communities activity. You can find out about the work we’re taking forward on our equality webpages  some key parts of our approach include:

Institutional Gender Action Plan (iGAP) - addressing undergraduate gender imbalances

We’re working to address gender imbalances in subject areas linked to the Scottish Funding Council ambition to ensure that no subject has more than 75% of one gender by 2030.  We published our GAP in 2017. Following Scottish Funding Council guidance we are beginning development on the refreshed and updated iGAP for publication mid-Summer 2020. 

Athena SWAN – addressing structural and cultural barriers to equality across Higher Education

The University is proud to engage with Athena SWAN, taking steps to make sure that its positive impact is felt across the organisation and that changes are embedded in Heriot-Watt culture. Alongside the University’s Athena SWAN Bronze Award, EPS, EGIS and MACS also hold Bronze Awards that demonstrate active engagement with the process of understanding and addressing barriers to gender equality. 

Fearless No-Bystander sessions – supporting #StandUpStepIn and equally safe

The University was successful in applying for an Association of Commonwealth Universities gender programme grantin 2019 delivering four No-bystander Training sessions primarily for students in January 2020. The sessions build on the work of the Fearless Edinburgh Partnership and form part of our response to the Equally Safe agenda. This is an exciting and evolving area that will have a positive impact across our global University. Look out for the #StandUpStepIn across University communications and social media for more.

Our research makes a difference

A number of the projects supported through the Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund have focussed specifically on issues that disproportionately affect women: 

  • Dr Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas is developing novel diagnostic tools for neo-natal sepsis, concentrating on challenges significant for Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Botswana.
  • Dr Britta Kalkreuter has developed partnerships with Sri Lankan craft organisations to support participatory approaches to address challenges of economic development of marginalised demographics around inclusive crafts. Heritage crafts are traditionally transmitted inter-generationally, frequently including prominent female roles and share traditions across ethnic divides.
  •  Prof Arnab Bhattacharjee is investigating the connections between women’s agency and the impaired growth and development of children in Indonesia, working in partnership with academic and government organisations.

IWD 2020 – 7-15 March across HWU 

These are just a few examples of the ways that Heriot-Watt contributes. 

Events are happening across the campuses to celebrate IWD2020, in particular:

  • At the Edinburgh Campus look out for profiles of influential women graduates from Development and Alumni running on the Link Bridge from 9-15 March. 
  • A Women in Data Science (WiDS) event in being held at the Dubai campus on Saturday 7th March running from 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • The Watt Women in STEM club will be holding a celebration on the 11th March at 2:45pm in JN116 titled "You can't be what you can't see"

You can help celebrate our contributions by tweeting to @HWUequality using the hashtags #HERiotWatt #EachForEqual to tell us ‘how will you help forge a gender equal world?’


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