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International Women’s Day

31 Mar 2023

Our journey to gender equity

Digital wall of women at Manchester

This year, we celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) with an extensive programme of inspiring and educational events throughout March, covering topics such as gender inclusion, emotional intelligence, and breaking systemic barriers in HE.  Over 1,300 colleagues came along both virtually and in person to participate in the sessions, ask questions, and network with fellow colleagues. Nearly 200 women also took part in our digital wall of women – a celebration of staff and students that contribute to making the University an inspiring place to work and study.

We launched this year’s IWD activity with an inspiring session from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, reflecting on her own fascinating career journey and the power of mentors and coaches. Within the session, our Women@Manchester network also spoke about their role and how the University can do more to Embrace Equity. 

Other events across the month included a Latin-American doll exhibition, a session on menopause,  equity in science, women in business and much more.  

Our Chancellor, Nazir Afzal OBE, also delivered an amazing keynote address, where he spoke about his own career as a public prosecutor and activist against gender-based violence. To find out more and to watch the full recording, visit Nazir Afzal – Fighting for Gender Equity

Philippa Hird, our Chair of the Board of Governors, concluded our programme of activity, giving an honest and uplifting talk about her career journey, the challenges that many women face and some of the lessons she learned along the way. 

Banji Adewumi, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of International Women’s Day at Manchester. The theme for this year was #EmbraceEquity, and this was certainly reflected in the rich discussions that were explored at our events this year. Whilst we have some way to go in many areas, the most important thing is to keep the conversation going and to continue to shine a light on key issues.’

Adèle MacKinlay, Director of People and Organisational Development, and Rachel Cowen University Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (Gender and Sexual Orientation Equality)  – Co-Chairs of the Women@Manchester Staff Network said: ‘It was an honour to be part of this global celebration of equity for women. The pace of change in this area can often feel glacial and we need to make a conscious effort across the University to recognise the diversity of talent in our community. We were blown away by the quality of our speakers and the meaningful conversations that took place throughout the month and welcome anyone who would like get more involved to come along to one of our Women @Manchester sessions or join one of our women’s networks to get more involved with accelerating gender equity at Manchester ’  

Get involved


The Women@Manchester network is about creating a group who can learn from, work with and support each other’s careers and the conditions for success whilst in parallel continuing to accelerate gender equity within our University.  

Women@Manchester run a variety of events throughout the year and all staff are encouraged to attend. 

More information