London News

Leading by example: Women at the helm of London’s universities

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#BehindEveryGreatCity

With 2018 marking 100 years since British women were first granted the vote, London is celebrating! Parliament Square is to see its first statue of a woman – a life-sized model of suffragist Millicent Fawcett. There are exhibitions, open air events, talks and activities all over London, most free to take part in  – find out all about them at visitlondon.com.

But when it comes to women in leadership, London’s universities are already out in front. Imperial College London is led by Professor Alice Gast, a distinguished chemical engineer, while the London School of Economics has recently appointed Dame Minouche Shafik, who made her name as an economist and banker, as its Director. SOAS’s Director is Baroness Valerie Amos, the first black woman to sit in the British cabinet, and a former UN under-secretary general, with particular expertise in humanitarian affairs.

Brunel University’s Vice Chancellor is Professor Julia Buckingham, who is a pharmacologist by training, while St George’s, University of London, one of the capital’s highly rated medical schools, is led by Professor Jenny Higham. Professor Higham continues to practise as a gynaecologist alongside her role at the university, training the doctors of the future.

But you don’t have to be a scientist to succeed in London: artist and designer Professor Linda Drew heads up Ravensbourne, famous for its work in digital media and virtual reality, while Professor Deborah Swallow is Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London’s celebrated centre for education in the history and conservation of art and architecture. And if fashion’s your passion, Istituto Marangoni’s London school is led by Charlotte Gorse.

London is already a top choice for female students: around 58% of current students are women. The high quality of a London education, the range of subjects available and the sheer variety of things to do will always be London’s key attractions, but the strong contingent of senior female leaders is clearly demonstrating that for London’s female students, there are no limits to ambition.

Follow the Mayor of London 2018 campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity – as he says, “Behind Every Great City is equality, opportunity and progress – regardless of your gender.”

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