Advance HE is set to host the Gender in Higher Education Conference on 25 May in Bristol. Now in its fourth year, the event seeks to bring together higher education professionals with an interest in addressing gender inequality at their institutions.
The theme of this year’s conference - Gender in the Hybrid Age - builds upon Advance HE’s previous work highlighting the gendered impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in HE, to understand how new ways of working and learning continue to impact on our achievement of gender equality.
We spoke to Ellen Pugh, Senior Adviser at Advance HE, who will co-host a workshop on ‘A gender-inclusive approach to student spaces and support’, and Emma Bond, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at University of Suffolk, who is leading a workshop on ‘Digital safety in the HE environment.’
“As a sector we’ve a lot to learn from others. No longer is the public sector necessarily at the forefront of equalities work and I’m looking forward to hearing about the innovations being introduced in other sectors aimed at improving gender equality as it intersects with other areas including race and disability.
“There is a lot of work taking place on gender equality and as other equality areas tend to receive less focus, we tend to think we’re doing ok but while there are achievements, we could do more.
“This conference has been designed to challenge the status quo and highlight how the hybrid working era remains full of pitfalls for achieving women’s equality and what we can proactively do to improve things for future generations of women in higher education whether they be staff or students.”
Ellen Pugh – Senior Adviser, Advance HE
“As the Athena Swan lead for the University of Suffolk, I am delighted to be speaking at the Gender in HE conference. The importance of understanding how universities can better respond to online harassment and abuse cannot be underestimated especially in light of the OfS Statement of Expectations and recent consultation on tackling harassment and sexual misconduct.
“Online harassment and abuse are often overlooked in higher education responses to sexual harassment and neglected in policy debate. The research Professor Andy Phippen and I undertook last year clearly demonstrates highly inconsistent approaches to both policy and practice across the sector and there is a dearth of guidance in relation to current practice and regulation around online gender-based harassment and abuse.
“I hope the conference will raise awareness of gendered patterns of online violence and sexual harassment and how robust policies and good practice can effectively safeguard students and staff online.”
Emma Bond, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at University of Suffolk