Saturday 8th March is International Womens’ Day.
I have had an interesting week being an international woman.
On Monday I was a woman in IT hosting a student forum about ‘Women in IT’ with guests from Amazon. The questions and reflections from the Oxford students about their own experiences were challenging and inspiring. An invitation to attend coffee with Oxford’s Women in Computer Science society (OxWoCS) was then extended to the many women who work in IT Services and we invited them to Ada Lovelace day.
On Tuesday I was Chamberlaine at Kellogg’s college night dinner. My speech, after a few crepe jokes about pancakes, was all about women in science and the need to ensure that the contributions of the women who pioneered the sciences in girls’ education is not lost. Most specifically, (on this day when we celebrate flour, sugar, eggs and butter), the contributions of the woman who invented periodic table cupcakes and opposed the introduction of ‘domestic science’. The food was lovely and the conversation delightful as always.
On Wednesday I took time to watch the recording we made, as part of our Safer Internet Day, of Dr Sara Perry’s talk: ‘The Online Professional’ about online harrassment.
Her experience of stalking and harrasment is depressing and scary, and she shines a bright light on how out of date and seemingly unaware of the current social media environment so many of our university policies are. The talk reminded me how much work there is still to be done in protecting ourselves and our staff from each other at a time when we actively encourage academics and students to establish an online identity and presence.
On Thursday I gave a talk on ‘MOOCs and OER’ to a very nice audience in the Radcliffe Science Library in which we touched on power and politics and I managed to slip in a couple of gender related points about so-called disruptive technologies (more on this later, in another post).
This morning I wrote business cases for contract extensions (oxymoron?) and recognition awards (tautology?) for 3 female staff in my group.
This afternoon I attended a presentation by the splendid podcasting team in which archive footage of Oxford life was shown. We noted that many of the pieces of archive footage we have are hard to date. The interior scenes of buildings, quads and male students in sub-fusc are the same across the years. Life at Oxford doesn’t change much, by design. It is only when the cameras go out into the street and you spot a car amongst the bicycles that you can tell to what era the film belongs.
Some archive footage about Oxford*, including this clip charmingly entitled ‘Cherwell Headline – Could You Rape This Woman?‘ is worth a look, just to remember what the experience of women in Oxford has been and continues to be.
I will end today by preparing an advert for the ‘Women of the Great War’ crowdsourcing event to be held in London tomorrow and scheduling tweets from @ltgoxford to promote the content we have about women ( historical and international).
Overall, I feel like I have done my bit. Have you?