The science of being a female professor

Athena frieze

King’s has launched a photographic frieze and website called 'Meet the Professors', intended to inspire future generations of female academics by celebrating the ones who have already achieved so much. It was initiated as part of the university's Athena SWAN Bronze institutional action plan.

'Meet the Professors' is a compilation of images of female academics, featuring a total of 81 women who currently work at King’s. The frieze, displayed at the Guy’s and Strand campuses, is a visual representation of their successes. Their stories are explored further online, with commentary from the participating women about the challenges and achievements in both in their careers and personal lives.

Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN is a charter which recognises excellence in an institution’s commitment to gender equality in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) subjects. It aims to counter unconscious bias at every level of an organisation and helps to inspire young women to continue their careers in academia by making inspiring female role models more visible.

‘Being part of the project meant that as a relatively new professor I made new connections with women across King’s in very different subjects and fields,’ says Professor Anna Reading, Cultural and Creative Industries.

‘When I saw the frieze I felt a huge sense of validation and a sense of being part of a wider community,’ she says.

‘Sometimes, if I have had a challenging day, I deliberately take a walk past the wall to see the other professors. It makes me feel accepted and proud,’ continues Professor Reading. ‘It also makes me feel that I might be a role model for other women trying to navigate their way through what is still an unequal world.’

Launching the project

Professors, award winners, colleagues and students at all levels of King’s were invited to the launch event and were welcomed by Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Principal (Arts & Sciences). She thanked everyone involved for their continued efforts: ‘I’m so delighted that we have been able to put up this inspiring image of these remarkable women.’

Debbie Epstein, Equalities Manager at King’s, says that the reception so far has been very positive and visitors have found the frieze affirming and inspiring.

The photographic friezes will be on display for at least two years. Another female professor also has good things to say about this affirming project.

‘Being featured in the campaign has made me proud remembering all the challenges I have faced and overcome,’ says Professor Guillermina Girardi, Division of Women’s Health. ‘However, I believe that getting to high academic positions should be a matter of merit – independently of your gender, race or sexual orientation.’

>> Now's your chance to meet the professors!

>> Read more about inspiring King's women - our pick of alumnae who have excelled in their chosen fields.

Date published: March, 2015










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