International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

Each year, the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout society are celebrated during Women's History Month and, on March 8, International Women's Day – which is also a time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to achieve gender parity.

Throughout the month, the University will be sharing some of the inspirational stories and achievements of women from across the institution. We will also be highlighting some of the barriers women still face with regards to gender equality and challenging traditional ideas of gender roles in society, as well as featuring events being held by the University and Union of Kingston Students themed around gender equality.

Choose To Challenge

The theme for International Women's Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge, with people being encouraged to share photographs of themselves on social media raising a hand to demonstrate a commitment to calling out inequality, alongside the campaign hashtag.

As part of this year's theme, we are inviting our University community to share their own commitment to choosing to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.

Short online forms have been created to allow our studentsstaff and alumni to let us know what they will #ChooseToChallenge. We will be sharing these commitments throughout March across our social media platforms.

Addressing the lack of female leadership in the NHS

"For me it's the cultural element and the expectations on top of that as being a woman - what does your culture expect of you? As a woman there are elements about expectations of behaviour and where you sit in the workplace. Even some of the terminology used for women in leadership roles is quite negative."

Kingston University nursing experts Judith Francois and Zoe Clark discuss the lack of female representation in senior nursing roles in the NHS, why they think that is the case, and what can be done to address the issue.

As a woman in engineering I want to stand with each and every one of you to celebrate women's achievements in all aspect of our life. Together we can build a world where we are equal in dignity and rights.

Sharon Sharif Moghadam, aerodynamics lecturer

I choose to challenge workplace inequalities. Every woman must get a fair chance to prove their abilities professionally.

Dhun Jain, media and communications student

Supporting female entrepreneurship

On International Women's Day, Kingston University launched its Women in Enterprise Network – a vibrant community of business-minded women, open to all current students and alumni.

While the percentage of UK businesses owned by women is increasing, a disproportionate number of firms – around two thirds - are still male-led, lecturer in entrepreneurship Dr Yuliana Topazly said.

"The Rose Review found that advancing female entrepreneurship represented a £250bn opportunity for the UK economy. We want to help bridge the gap, creating an ecosystem to maximise opportunity for currently hidden talent," Dr Topazly said. "Through this network, Kingston University will provide support to encourage female entrepreneurship among students and within the local community – facilitating conversations and providing information and knowledge exchange. Peer to peer support, mentoring and local role models are all hugely important."

Dr Yuliana Topazly
Women in STEM

Women in STEM

From celebrating the achievements of our talented students, staff and researchers to encouraging more women to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Kingston University is committed to supporting and championing our women in STEM.

I have been inspired by many women but the one that stands out the most was Khadija, the first wife of the Prophet. She was a successful businesswoman, strong, wise, kind and intelligent.

I gain strength from that.

I am not inspired by the idea that we should do something to make a point, but do something to make a difference and use your skills and passion.

Amtul Bhunnoo, Biomolecular sciences PhD student

Amtul Bhunnoo, Biomolecular sciences PhD student

Anyone in competitive rowing in the 1990s will know the name Silken Laumann.

Having won a bronze medal in the double sculls at the 1984 Olympics, she was the favorite to win the 1992 women's singles but four months before the Games, a freak accident left her requiring reconstructive surgery on her leg, and she was told she may never row again. Despite the accident she managed to earn the bronze medal and was named Canadian of the Year, later going on to win a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics.

Andrew Boggs, University Clerk

Andrew Boggs, University Clerk

University leaders discuss career experiences, role models and advice for students

"You feel you need to prove yourself above and beyond if you're the only woman in the room, or the only woman of a younger age in the room – you feel that perhaps there could be a sense of people assuming you're not of the same level of experience as them for whatever reason."

Caroline Harries, Kingston University's Chief Financial Officer, and Mandy Ure, Dean of Kingston School of Art, met during Women's History Month to discuss some of the challenges they have faced throughout their careers. As senior figures at the University, and part of the Senior Leadership Team, they offer advice to the next generation of female leaders and share inspirational role models throughout their working life. Their discussion also explores the importance of support networks and the role of allies in helping support women to achieve their full potential.

Gender equality resources

Student and staff picks



  • No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • Ladies Can't Climb Ladders by Jane Robinson
  • I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
  • Ten Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
  • My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg


  • Hidden Figures
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • On the Basis of Sex
  • Suffragette
  • Daughters of the Dust
  • Colette

Women's organisations

  • WHEN - Women in Higher Education Network
  • The Fawcett Society – Campaigns for equality between women and men in the UK on pay, pensions, poverty, justice and politics.
  • Million Women Rise – A coalition of individual women and representatives from the women's voluntary and community sector which organises an annual national demonstration against male violence that coincides with International Women's Day.
  • Women's Aid – A national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. They support a network of services across the UK.
  • Amazing Women Rock – An online community 'for amazing women and those who appreciate them'.
  • Rights of Women – A women's voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights.
  • VITAE – Vitae is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes.
  • Forward Ladies – A business networking organisation for professional women.
  • A Guide for Women in STEM – Research shows that women are underrepresented across most technical and scientific fields, including data science. This guide is intended to provide a general background and specific resources for women considering STEM fields.

*Artwork in banner image by Kingston School of Art Fine Art MFA graduate Clara Lang-Ezekiel.