WHEN's Blog

A selection of insightful pieces written by women who work across the breadth of the higher education sector


Psychology of flourishing women in higher education: leveraging well-being and resilience

Dec 02, 2019

By Dr Jummy Okoya

This article is meant to equip all women in higher education with the tools and techniques to help build up their skills of resilience, including raising awareness of their well-being. Research has revealed that our well-being is always the first to suffer when we are going through challenges or adversity. My aim is to challenge you to be proactive and to know the right tool to deploy when dealing with challenges or adversity in any domain of your lives. 

I have attended many workshops where the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and ambiguity) environment is considered new normal, but I beg to differ because I believe that VUCA has always been a constant in the...

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Digging into a thrilling career in university leadership

Dec 02, 2019

In conversation with … women leaders in higher education and beyond

Dr Susi Poli in conversation with Ines Fabbro, former head of administration and female role model

This article has had a long gestation and can be dated back to the kick-off of my doctoral thesis [1], which was when I began dealing with the topic of women’s careers in the higher education sector and of how their leadership skills took shape. For a number of reasons, this was expected to be a tricky topic, since it had not been covered enough before - if not locally but with no build-up to this line of research - and also because it triggers a variety of implications: from the type of society women find...

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Entrepreneurship is in my DNA

Dec 02, 2019

Interview with Dr Yuliana Topazly by Clare Hewitt

What led you to decide to set up your own enterprise?

Entrepreneurship has always been part of my DNA as I have been involved in supporting my family business since I was 12 years of age. When I came to the UK almost 20 years ago, I became engaged with the university sector and the whole enterprise agenda in the UK, setting up an entrepreneur society, entering business competitions. But what actually pushed me to my first enterprise was that I used to work in a larger corporation and then I had my daughter. I got refused and was pushed to leave. So I was shocked with this situation and it really damaged my self-confidence and led to...

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Progressing your career - top tips

Dec 02, 2019

By Sarah John and Kate Hunter, Joint Heads of the UK Higher Education Practice at executive search firm Perrett Laver

It is fair to say that many of us spend more time planning a holiday than our careers. But, we’re almost certain that most of us spend far more time in our workplace than we do on the beach! As executive search consultants, we spend our professional lives thinking and talking about careers, and recognise how beneficial it can be to stop and think about what you really want from your career and how you might get there. 


Here are some of our top tips: 


Take responsibility

This is your career and no one else will take as much interest...

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Recalling a maiden in the Qin Dynasty like a grass leaf in a thousand-li distance

Dec 02, 2019

Recalling a maiden in the Qin Dynasty like a grass leaf in a thousand-li distance 

In London,/ a multicultural city, lives a Chinese woman./ The Chinese woman enjoys her exploration in books and words here,/ like riding a horse on a boat./ In retrospect of the past decay,/ she cheers herself up with her dream of being an idiot for long,/ with joy and tears./ The tears are shed/  for both the departures from/ and encounters of the known and the unknown./

 (written on October 4th, 2017 in London)

It is pleasant to read articles in THE EDIT and to learn about what it means to be women working in the sector....

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Overcoming the imposter phenomenon

Sep 11, 2019

By Ann-Marie Stephenson

WHEN volunteer

One of the most popular workshops at the WHEN annual conference was about the imposter phenomenon delivered by Dr Terri Simpkin who is an academic consultant and public speaker; and founded Braver Stronger Smarter. She has worked with private organisations, industry representative bodies, public sector organisations and governments across the globe educating on the phenomenon and supporting individuals to identify Imposter Phenomenon (IP) in a work context.

So what exactly is the Imposter Phenomenon?

Impostor Phenomenon (IP), is the feeling of intellectual phoniness and was first theorised by American psychologists Pauline Rose...

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Case study: How Essex University eliminated its gender pay gap

Sep 05, 2019

By Opemipo Koshemani 

WHEN volunteer

I attended the Women Higher Education Network (WHEN) 2019 conference on Thursday 20 June and it was a valuable experience. It was great to network with women from other Higher Education Institutions and attend the workshops focused on achieving gender equality in Higher Education. One of such workshops was a case study on how the University of Essex closed their gender pay gap, led by Susie Morgan, HR Director, at the University of Essex.

As a participant, the session gave me the opportunity to reflect on the approach other institutions are taking to eliminate the gender pay gap. At the same, as a group, we did appreciate there are contextual...

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What can a professional services member of staff learn from listening to two highly successful academics share their career pathways?

Aug 12, 2019
By Kate Faxen

Sitting in on an academic career pathway workshop at this year's WHEN conference might seem like an unusual choice for a professional services member of staff. But actually, we’ve all faced with similar choices in our careers and hearing the inspirational stories about how Karen found herself to be the Head of the Humanities Department at Oxford University, and how Becky found herself as Director of the UCL IOE, gave me some really useful insights about my own career development. Namely about being pragmatic about the choices I face, seizing opportunities that present themselves to me and about seeking out mentoring relationships.

Professor Becky Francis, Director...

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WHEN annual conference 2019: ''Who am I supposed to be?''

Aug 12, 2019
WHEN annual conference 2019 blog
By Madiha Sajid with contributions from Dr Susi Poli

On 20 June 2019, WHEN held its second annual conference around the theme of exploring intersectional identities through our labels. This year, we welcomed over 100 women from over 20 different universities around the UK, who set about embarking on journeys of self-exploration as we all attempted to demystify the concept of labels, both those that are given to us by others and the ones that we give to ourselves. 

Labels - which ones do I want to own?

The conference opened with a video of women, including many of the WHEN volunteers, confidently sharing some of the labels that people had given to...

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Knowing your why - the most important part of starting a new business

Jun 21, 2019

An interview with Sneha Shah, founder and director of Curaty www.curaty.co  

Curaty champions early career artists by curating intellectually engaging exhibitions of their artwork in inspiring workspaces across London, with a mission to democratise the art experience for all.  

What led you to set up your own enterprise?

I studied in art school but as it was wrapping up I realised I didn’t have the platform I needed to transition my art practice into the “real world,” as most galleries require you to have years of work experience before you join in. That’s when I realised there have to be other fresh graduates like myself who struggled to...

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