Thursday, 10 January 2019

Networking among Women, a positive approach to address gender disparity in academia by Jasmin Dall'Agnola and Sarah Whitmore

On September 13th 2018, the launch of the first Eurasian, East and Central European Studies Women’s Academics Forum (EECES Women’s Academics Forum) took place at the Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society at Oxford Brookes University. The one-day workshop attracted a global audience and united early-career and established female academics from more than 10 different countries, researching the former Communist space. In addition, the workshop tackled the issue of gender disparity in academia. 

The Forum kicked off with a short introduction by the main organizers Dr. Sarah Whitmore and Jasmin Dall’Agnola, both from Oxford Brookes University. Afterwards, Prof. Mary Buckley (Fellow at Hughes Hall, Cambridge University) elaborated on her personal experiences as an established female academic, researching former Soviet countries, in her insightful keynote speech “Looking back and looking forward”.  Later, the stage belonged to the various panels, which provided a platform for early-career female academics to exchange ideas and discuss their research with other female scholars, who are at different stages of their career. In addition to research related topics, gender specific questions, such as safety issues in fieldwork and the reconciliation of motherhood and academia, were raised during the discussions. To finish, we held a roundtable where established female academics shared their experiences of “Gender disparity in academia” with the audience.

The main task and aim of the EECES Women’s Academics Forum was “networking”, “networking” and “networking”, which all delegates did with huge enthusiasm. As feedback demonstrated, this went well. For example, it united two participants who had not seen each other since their undergraduate studies in Germany (10 years ago). The whole day was accompanied by a lovely, positive atmosphere, as one of the more senior attendees remarked. It is exactly through this positive ambience that this new global Women’s network operates. As a result, the network does not limit itself to the issues of Sexism and Feminism but rather, promotes the visibility and profile of female scholars’ research within the various academic subfields of the studies related to the former Communist space.

As part of the EECES Women's Academics Forum, the first Agenda Meeting for the BASEES Study Group for Early Career Female Scholars took place. Committee members were elected and a first draft constitution was agreed, which needs to be approved by the BASEES executive committee meeting in November 2018. In the near future, the network seeks to expand its membership on the global scale through the organization of social and professional networking events between early-career and established female academics.

One of the next items of its agenda is the successful organization of 2 panels, consisting of early-career female academics, for the BASEES annual conference in Cambridge on 12th–14th April 2019. The panels will promote the quality and impact of Women’s research for the understanding of the former Communist space. 

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post.

    Really enjoyed reading it and it held my attention all the way through! Keep it up.

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