Let's celebrate our inspirational women

Portrait of a Woman collage

Today (8 March 2017) we are celebrating International Women’s Day and supporting this year’s campaign #BeBoldForChange encouraging purposeful action to create a more inclusive, gender equal world.

We’re pleased to be able to share two projects to mark the occasion – In the Spotlight and Portrait of a Woman. We hope you enjoy them and please feel free to share using the hashtag #BeBoldForChange. You might also want to share your own bold actions for gender parity. And you can follow the day’s activity on @sheffunistaff.

Share stories and portraits using #BeBoldForChange

Today our Women’s network are hosting, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam, an International Women’s Day conference. You can follow the day on Twitter using #IWDSheff17. There are still spaces available at the keynote talks.

Tracy Wray, Director of HR and Communications, said: “I’m extremely proud of everyone involved in the innovative projects that promote gender equality. Your work has far-reaching effects across the University and beyond; it is this sort of sustained commitment to change that makes us a remarkable place to work and a Sunday Times 100 best company to work for."

In the Spotlight

We asked for your stories and received some inspirational case studies about the bold actions you are taking for gender parity. Thank you to everyone who got in touch. 

Pictured: Deborah Beck

Your bold actions for gender parity

Deborah Beck

Cheryl Exum

Portrait of a Woman

This project is sponsored by Professor Shearer West, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and celebrates women who have made a special contribution to the life of the University. It is made up entirely of people who have been nominated by colleagues.

Pictured: Professor J. Cheryl Exum

Meet 16 inspirational colleagues

Our pioneering equality and diversity work

Across the University a number of projects represent our sustained commitment to gender equality, not least our Athena SWAN awards – the institution-wide silver award which we share with only ten other universities, and the individual awards held by all of our science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) departments as well as the Department of Archaeology. Our other pioneering projects include:


We are the first university in the UK to run SEED – a ground-breaking professional development programme focused on fostering inclusive curricula and the work of educational equity. In the words of a participant on the project: "The SEED programme offers a unique opportunity for learning that not only supports the individual but provides a platform for better understanding issues of diversity and inequity in higher education."

Women in Engineering

Through Women in Engineering we aim to be the number one place for females to study and work in engineering. Following recent promotions 10.6 per cent of the professors in Engineering are now female, significantly higher than the national average of 6 per cent. We recently launched our Engineering Is campaign at the Houses of Parliament. The campaign aims to inspire primary school age girls and boys to become engineers and to bust the myth that engineering is only for men.

Women Academic Returners' Programme

Our Women Academic Returners’ Programme (WARP) supports women who are returning to work after time off for maternity leave, and since 2006 the 136 women supported by £1.7 million of WARP awards have consequently brought in over £12.5 million in apportioned research grant income to the University.

Impact and Futures mentoring schemes

Designed to address the sector-wide underrepresentation of female academics in professorial posts, our Impact and Futures mentoring schemes provide support and guidance for women across faculties by matching participants with mentees to guide them in overcoming barriers to career development. Almost 200 academic women having participated in Impact and Futures mentoring programmes to date.


The Women@TUoS network offers informal opportunities for colleagues to meet, to share their ideas, aspirations and concerns. The network holds around 12 seminars and personal development workshops per year, hosts an annual lecture, and works with colleagues here at the University and with Sheffield Hallam to hold an annual IWD conference. There are around 1,100 members subscribed to the network from across the University.