In the run-up to our International Women's Day Campaign 2020, we have been lucky enough to work with some truly inspiring Oxford influencers, empowering future generations of young women through their social media and YouTube channels - be sure to check out their pages and read their stories!
Women of Oxford, join us on Tuesday 3rd March at midday in Radcliffe Square for a group photo, striking the #EachforEqual pose pictured here!
@thatoxfordgirl @thattillyrose YouTube Following my own challenging journey to Oxford Uni, I launched ‘That Oxford Girl’; a platform providing a free, student perspective of the application process and life behind the college walls. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredible women across the University. I am constantly in awe of my amazing team of 100+ strong, fearless & fun female student ambassadors, many of whom have overcome huge obstacles to reach Oxford Uni and are now proactively inspiring the next generation. My work with TOG has further opened my eyes to the power of education and I see that if we can encourage new generations of young women to aspire to higher education, these women will not only transform their own lives and career opportunities but the lives of their communities, families and the economies of their countries, creating lasting change.
Studying Economics and Management at Oxford, I’ve felt the pressures of studying a male-dominated subject and, more recently, applying for male-dominated career paths. Truth is, women are under-represented at every level in economics, from undergraduate study to profession. This is a worldwide problem with huge social implications because, more often than not, economists go on to work in roles that are influential in public policymaking and have a direct impact on our society. The under-representation of women in economics affects how public issues are addressed, and what needs and perspectives are given airtime. The only way that we can challenge the perception that certain subjects are “only for men” is by increasing visibility of successful women as positive role models, and by encouraging and supporting more women to apply for traditionally male-dominated fields.
Having recently graduated, when I reflect on the facets of my identity whilst being a student, gender isn’t one of my biggest focuses. I’m fortunate that I was largely able to take part in opportunities without my womanhood turning me down. Being involved in the @riotsquadmag was one of those highlights as I was able to showcase my identity alongside other inspiring woman and non-binary people of colour. I hope this will soon become the norm in Oxford and greater society.
I may have graduated, but I will always be an 'Oxford Woman'. I am now, in fact, having got onto my MSc course, a Woman in STEM too, which I am very proud of. Having started on pupil premium in a local state comp in the North West, I was never presented the idea of an Oxford education; I merely found it by accident when exploring local universities that did my chosen subject. After I had seen it though, I couldn't get the idea out of my ridiculously competitive head.
There were times before my degree when I thought, 'gosh this place is not designed for someone like me' and that i wouldn't really fit. I was even told by close family members that 'people like us don't go to places like this'. However, attending the @oxforduniq summer school in 2015 completely changed my perception of the university and I have wanted to keep 'giving back' to say thank you ever since. One way I tried to do this, was to start uploading regularly to my YouTube channel in First Year. I created an online space dedicated to widening access to Oxford by giving tips and filming vlogs. These videos hopefully have allowed people in a similar situation to what I was, to relate to Oxford in a way that i never could (or at least that was the plan when i started). By creating a free online resource helping with personal statements, admissions, a levels and general chats about life etc, I hoped to show that Oxford was a place for anyone who worked hard and not just the top 1%.
Throughout my time at uni I’ve been surrounded by inspirational women - both tutors and other students. IWD gives me a chance to reflect on all the incredible stories of the women I’ve encountered - including women of colour, and those in the LGBT+ community. Sexism is still a very real part of women’s experiences of university, and in wider life though - did you know that in 2019 women in universities were found to be paid a mean hourly wage that is 15.1% less than what men get paid for similar work? Unacceptable! (Figures, as always, from the UCU website.) Without the support of female-identifying friends and colleagues I wouldn’t have half the courage needed to do a PhD, and so for them I’m really grateful. I can only hope that I pass on that courage to my own students, for whatever they decide to do with their lives.
As a female scholar and Women’s Rights activist, I am increasingly conscious of the academic, public, and private spaces which are predominantly occupied by white cis-males. Not only is female and non-binary representation lacking throughout our societies (US, UK, and abroad) but the voices and experiences of WOC have been historically erased or censured. It is my mission as a scholar to speak up and to write histories which center female agency. From marching for women’s rights in the streets of Washington DC, to joining the EachForEqual campaign, and researching the lives of enslaved women, I believe that a fight for gender equality and female empowerment is always a worthy cause.
As a black woman studying Modern Languages at the university of Oxford, being in an environment where I am largely underrepresented has become my norm. it often feels as though I have to prove myself or strive harder to be considered equal. Starting a YouTube Chanel has always been a goal of mine since I was a child and I never thought I’d be inspiring young people to pursue higher education and becoming an example for both women and people of colour. There is definitely a place for you if you’re willing to take it.
As the President of Oxford Women in Law Student Society, I have had the privilege of speaking to and collaborating with some incredible women. It is now 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act and the #first100years have seen women go from strength to strength. Reading Lady Hale’s eloquent, innovative and intelligent judgments, I have been so inspired to strive to be the best #womaninlaw I can be. There’s still a long way to go, and we can only get there by building each other up rather than pulling each other down. Let’s all make sure that our generation gives #womeninlaw their rightful place at the table
At the age of 9, I migrated from China to the UK alone. My journey from not knowing a word of English to studying geography at the University of Oxford has not been an easy one. Although the initial misogynistic and racist comments I received on social media were disheartening, I was lucky enough to have built my own platform, where I could speak up for myself. Unfortunately, there are many marginalised girls whose voices are not heard and who do not have the basic access to education.
I was treated badly at school - you could say "bullied" - because I was a nerdy kid. I often felt like people around me wanted to dim the light inside me. Some told me I was "embarrassing", "too loud", "unladylike". It'd have been better if I "blended in" more, if I were quieter, more meek, more docile. I couldn't be that way. I decided to leave Poland at the age of 18.
When I got to the UK to study, the process of healing began for me, and I tried to reignite that light inside me. I put myself out there - I did an exchange in Australia, and several internships in different countries. I finally felt like I was "me" again. I am currently doing a PhD at Oxford, and, frankly, I've never been happier. I'm finally myself again. My time is now. The time for change is NOW.
Women have made such a significant impact in the field of medicine. Despite our contributions being discouraged in the past, it’s hard to neglect our role in the practice. As a woman at Oxford, I’ve always felt like I’ve hard to work a little bit harder to be noticed - kind of like the woman who have helped get medicine to where it is today. As a black woman, I’ve also felt like I’ve had to work that much more harder. However, it’s so empowering to know that I am soon going to be amongst these successful women of medicine. It’s helped me strive to be the best doctor I could possibly be (when I manage to get through these very long six years).