The Future is OURS

Embracing uncertainty, challenging our institutions and ourselves

Register now

Beginning on Monday 6th September

Spread over five days for optimal convenience and flexibility, join us for a practical exploration of intersectional themes related to women working in higher education. The online conference will explore explore key opportunities for achieving a step-change in gender equity, empowering you to embrace uncertainty, challenge your institution and challenge yourself for positive change. 

You will get:
Access to live workshops  I  Keynote speeches  I  Pecha kucha  I  Panel discussions  I  Networking with a range of women and their perspectives  I  Access to recordings 

Are you ready to hear from amazing women?

Here's just a few of the incredible women speaking at this year's conference

Sarah Stephenson-Hunter

EDI specialist, Oxford University and podcast host

image by Shawn Ryan 

Harriet Minter

Journalist, author and hybrid work specialist


Smita Jamdar

'Activist' lawyer, Partner & Head of Education, Shakespeare Martineau

Katy Jon Went

Human Library Book and UK Coordinator

Conference sessions

Conference opening

10.00 - 10.15, Monday 6th Sept

Founder and CEO of WHEN, Alice Chilver will introduce WHEN, set the scene for the conference, welcome participants and explain how the week will unfold. 

Keynote speeches

10.15 - 12.30, Monday 6th Sept 

Our keynote speakers will explore 'where are we heading and how do we achieve gender equity in hybrid work environments', followed by Q&A. 

Panel discussion

11.00 - 12.30, Tuesday 7th Sept

Our panel members will discuss 'How can we build a future that is better and ours?'.  They will explore the possibilities of a new reality, supporting us to learn from what others are already doing. 

Pecha Kucha

12.00 - 13.00, Wednesday 8th Sept

In the fast paced setup of our pecha kucha 'Be the change: Breaking the mould, challenging convention', be inspired by stories of women who are being the change they want to see. 

Rebecca Adlington OBE

14.00- 15.00, Wednesday 8th Sept

Continuing on from our inspiring Pecha Kucha session – WHEN’s Adele MacKinlay will be talking to the UK’s most successful woman swimmer, Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington OBE, about adversity, success and emotional resilience.

(Image: Fabio De Paola for the Observer)

Strength in Community

14.00 - 15.00, Friday 10th Sept

Not to be missed! From the comfort of your home and with your drink of choice in hand. You'll make new connections in this interactive session, where we make networking online fun.

Explore our workshops

Workshops for practical action will take place throughout the day on Thursday 9th September. More workshops are being confirmed weekly. Here's what's on so far:

Thursday 9th September, 1pm

One way to take positive control of your job and career is through a concept called “job crafting”. This session will show you how to do it.

Through interactive exercises and activities this workshop will explore how colleagues can apply the latest thinking about how to design their own personal approach to work through job crafting. Leaving the session participants will have: - an understanding of how job crafting can support diversity and inclusion strategies - learnt and experimented with some job crafting tools and techniques - a clear understanding of the benefits of bringing job crafting to life and how to do this - had fun and been engaged.

Workshop Facilitator: Rob Baker

Rob is a specialist at bringing job crafting and ideas from positive psychology to life through consultancy, interventions, workshops and coaching. Rob is the author of Personalization at Work by Kogan Page which was a finalist at the 2021 Business Book Awards. He has presented to organisations and conferences about job crafting around the globe. Tailored Thinking, the company Rob founded in 2017, was named HR Consultancy of year by the CIPD in 2020.

Website: | Twitter @bakerrjm | Linkedin

This session has been postponed due to speaker illness.

We intend to reschedule this workshop later in the year and will let all conference attendees know when we have a date set.


In this session participants will explore some of the complex and controversial issues around disability and LGBTQ+ equality in higher education and discuss practical ways in which you can support trans women in your own organisation and be a better ally to trans women more generally. 

Workshop facilitator: Sarah Stephenson Hunter

Sarah explores trans inclusion within the H.E. context using a mix of openness, humour and sensitivity, whilst drawing on her own personal and professional experiences as a blind trans woman working at Nottingham University, Birmingham University and The University of Oxford. Twitter @sarahshequalityFacebook

This session has been postponed.

We intend to reschedule this workshop later in the year and will let all conference attendees know when we have a date set

With around 3.5 million women aged between 15 and 65 years currently in employment in the UK, women now represent nearly a half of the UK labour force. That makes menopause mainstream and as important as any other occupational health issue. Greater awareness among managers of the menopause as a real occupational health issue

This workshop will explore the latest examples of best practice in relation to policy's and frameworks that help organisations and managers better understand the impact of menopause and how best to support women. 

Workshop Facilitator: Dr Heather Curry MBE

Managing Director of Menopause Matters Ltd which runs the award winning website and author of the award winning book, 'Menopause, answers at your fingertips'

Thursday 9th September, 2pm - 4pm

"Take out a Human Book and have a comfortable dialogue about often uncomfortable topics. Our Books are drawn from the groups in society that are stigmatised or stereotyped, marginalised, mistreated or misunderstood, from race to religion or refugees, disability to discrimination, LGBT+ to mental health and more."

Workshop facilitator: Ronni Abergel 

Ronni is the inventor of the Human Library 

Thursday 9th September, 10am

We believe that individuals have the power to shape their environments so that they become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.  The most effective "Inclusive Influencers" blend personal agency with a pragmatic understanding of the systems that they are part of.  

This session will provide participants with an opportunity to assess the current ‘inclusion maturity’ of their institutions, as well as a model for critically reflecting on their own approach to influencing.  Using these insights, they will devise and road test a plan of action that will help them to have a genuine impact on inclusion.   

Workshop facilitators: Jo Bostock MBE & Jenny Barrow

Jo Bostock specialises in working with clients to develop high-performing, inclusive cultures that make the most of their diverse talent.  She primarily works with senior leaders and people managers on what inclusive leadership means to them in practice.  Jo takes a pragmatic and systemic approach to exploring how people can exercise influence to actively shape their environments. 

Jenny Barrow has been working in the field of Inclusion & Diversity for over 15 years. Throughout her career, she has worked with senior leaders, managers and teams to equip them to build inclusive cultures, ultimately leading to improved organisational performance.

Thursday 9th September, midday

Using a participatory approach, this session will explore why women wait to be prompted before they apply for promotion, and discusses ways women should seize opportunities and put themselves forward for their career progression.

Workshop Facilitator: Dr Anatu Mahama

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Academic Woman - a fresh, new quarterly magazine, packed with powerful and positive stories, for women working in academia. We shine a spotlight on the successes and the challenges that women face in this often male-dominated world. Twitter: @theacademicwmag | LinkedIn: TheAcademicWoman


Thursday 9th September, 11am

The Covid-19 pandemic has left many of us reflecting on some big questions about our lives, what is important to us and how we can achieve greater satisfaction. This small group, interactive workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to consider their own personal values, and what this might mean in terms of how they live their lives and go about their work. This workshop has been adapted from a programme run at the University of Cambridge to support and embed our Professional Services staff values of trust, respect, integrity and collaboration.

Workshop Facilitator: Jenny Rampling


Thursday 9th September, 11am

How a systems thinking mindset can help us to find clarity amongst complexity.

In this introductory session you will get familiar with the concept of systems thinking and explore how it can support progressive momentum building when it comes to achieving greater equity.

Workshop Facilitator: Professor Yasmin Merali

Professor of Systems Thinking

The University of Hull


 Thursday 9th September, 2pm

More information coming soon 

Workshop Facilitator: Wendy Appleby and Adèle MacKinlay


This session has been postponed.

We intend to reschedule this workshop later in the year and will let all conference attendees know when we have a date set.

Workshop Facilitator: Professor Sue Black OBE

A reflection on the few things that have made the biggest difference to my career journey and my top tips for other academics on their route to professorship.


Meet our speakers

Dr Bijna Kotak Dasani MBE, FRSA

Executive Director, Morgan Stanley 

Katy Jon Went

Co-ordinator of the Human Library 

Prof. Marcia Wilson

Dean of EDI, Open University 

Colleen Ammerman

Director of the Gender Initiative, Harvard Business School

Harriet Minter

Journalist and Broadcaster 

Dr Heather Currie MBE

Founder of Menopause Matters

Jo Bostock MBE

Co-Founder of Women's Sport Trust & Director of Pause Consultancy 

Dr Halima Begum

Chief Executive, The Runnymede Trust

Smita Jamdar

Partner and Head of Education, Shakespeare Martineau Birmingham

Prof. Sue Black OBE

Scientist and Social Entrepreneur

Sarah Stephenson-Hunter

Disability and LGBTQ+ speaker, trainer and podcast host

image by Shawn Ryan

Anatu Mahama

Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Academic Woman 

Dr Leigh Harrington

Research Associate, Aston University 

Ronni Abergel

Founder of Human Library Organisation

Madiha Sajid

Athena SWAN Engagement Lead, UCL

Dr Sarah Mohammad-Qureshi

EDI Advisor, Manchester University and Trustee at GM4WOMEN2028 and 'Pave The Way’

Wendy Appleby

Vice-President, University of Southhampton (Incoming)

Dr Doyin Atewologun

Dean of the Rhodes Scholarship

Alice Chilver

Founder and CEO, WHEN

Rob Baker

Founder, Tailored Thinking 

Meg Cox

PR and Communications Officer, Loughborough University 

Adèle MacKinlay

Director of People and Organisational Development,  Manchester University (Incoming)

Jenny Barrow

Inclusion & Diversity Specialist 

Dr Jummy Okoya

Educator, Trainer and Researcher

Oxford University & Advance HE

Jenny Rampling

Senior Programme Coordinator, 'ourcambridge' University of Cambridge 


Prof. Yasmin Merali

Professor of Systems Thinking, University of Hull


Lisa Gregg

Director of Organisational Change, Aston University


Oyebanji (Banji) Adewumi

University of Manchester

Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion


Rebecca Adlington OBE

Olympic gold medallist & Founder of Swim Stars


Get involved, be ready to:

  • Seize the moment and bring change to our sector.
  • Build your understanding of where we are now in terms of gender equity in higher education. Gain an intersectional view on gender equality. 
  • Be inspired by women sharing their stories of how they’ve achieved change for themselves, their teams and their institutions. 
  • Embrace uncertainty be comfortable with the unknown and more change.
  • Feel connected to our community of women in higher education. 
  • Meet a range of women from across the sector, build your network.
  • Capture insights from our expert speakers and panel.
  • Identify practical actions to achieve positive change for you, your team and your institution.


Although we will miss the opportunity to get together in person, there are a number of reasons why we are really looking forward to delivering this online.

  1. The event is easier to access for participants from all over the UK. 
  2. There are no travel costs.
  3. Participants don't need to be away from family for a long day or overnight.
  4. There are no venue and catering costs, and therefore the ticket prices can be far lower than usual
  5. There will be minimal carbon footprint.
Register now

Conference FAQs

Got a question about the event? Take a look at the answers below

Who is the conference for?


This conference is open to women* working in Higher Education who are members of the WHEN network. This event is also open to women who are not yet WHEN members and want to learn more about gender equity in HE. *WHEN we refer to women, we include trans women and non-binary people who are comfortable in a female centred community.

To our male allies - there will be a programme coming up in the Autumn that you can get involved in. To find out more, please contact [email protected]

What does my ticket cover?

Member and non- member tickets  (including the early bird rate) all allow particpants to access the following:

  • Keynotes on Monday
  • Panel session on Tuesday
  • Pecha kucha on Wednesday
  • Workshops* on Thursday
  • Community event on Friday

*participants are welcome to attend as many workshops as they wish subject to availability. Workshops will mostly take place on Thursday between 10am – 4pm.  Some workshops may overlap. Some workshops will have limited capacity and attendance will be granted on a first come first serve basis.

Can I buy tickets for just one day?

No. Tickets can only be purchased for the entire event week.

Can I get a refund or discount if I can only attend part of the conference week?

Refunds are not available for partial attendance. If you are unable to make one or more of the sessions, you can opt to purchase the recording bundle that will be available after the event for an additional £5. Please be aware that recordings will be made subject to the permission of the speakers and so not all content will be available after the event.

Can I cancel my tickets / what happens if I can no longer attend?

Tickets are non refundable except for in exceptional circumstances. If you believe you have an exceptional circumstance that has prevented you from attending, please email [email protected] with details and evidence to support your claim. Decisions on refunds are at the discretion of the organizers.

What if I can’t attend all of the days/events on offer?

Refunds are not available for partial attendance.

How is the event being delivered?

The event is being delivered virtually.

When will I receive the links to the events?

You will receive links to each of the elements of the conference 48 hours before the start time.

When will I find out the times of the workshops?

Workshop timings will be released in August. Be sure to keep checking the website for updates. More workshops are being added weekly. 

How many workshops can I attend?

Participants are welcome to attend as many workshops as they wish subject to availability. Workshops will mostly take place on Thursday between 10am – 4pm.  Some workshops may overlap. Some workshops will have limited capacity and attendance will be granted on a first come first serve basis. 


Didn't find the answer you needed? Contact the team here:  [email protected]

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Access conference recordings 

We are recording the entire conference. So if you weren't able to join us for the live event, you can still access all of the content. Shall we let you know when it's ready?