International Women’s Day 2018

Many of my colleagues and I are currently exercising our right to withdraw our labour following a democratic ballot of UCU members.  This is a national dispute over unjustified attacks on lecturers pensions by Universities UK.

The 2018 International Women’s Day is one of the strike days. I reluctantly declined an invitation to participate in the panel discussion of the award-winning movie ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘. This has not been an easy decision. I’d so very much like to endorse this brilliant idea of Katie Skinner (Macrobert’s Film Programme Officer) of examining the film as a feminist text and to look at the way the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns have shaped the awards pool this year. However, as a UCU member, it is pivotal not to break the strike (as suggested by my colleague Dr. Peter Matthews).

So, to celebrate this year’s international women’s day, I’d like to make a blog entry to commemorate the brilliant women I have met during the strike. Giving some of their best at Tuesday’s ‘Teach Out’ at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum were:

Prof. Kirstein Rummery who talked about gender inequality in academia,

Prof. Carron Shankland who introduced the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace,

Dr. Sarah Wilson who drew on C. Wright Mills to question the moral symbols, sacred emblems, legal formulae upheld by the authority to justify their rule over higher education institutions.

There are also bright young ladies who spoke at the Teach-Out to endorse their lecturers’ decision to strike. Even at the picket line, I was entertained by the intellectual conversation with Dr Melanie Lovatt about sociological imagination of the future.

While it has been difficult to refrain myself doing the usual academic work, I have cherished this opportunity to observe the comradeship and solidarity amongst the UCU members, and the key role that female academics play in the ongoing strike.

Proud to be a woman. Happy International Women’s Day.

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