Oxford University puts up more portraits of women

Oxford University is revealing the identities of more than 20 people whose portraits will be put on display to try to “promote greater diversity”.

It wants to redress the balance from the university’s walls being lined with pictures of “dead white males” by adding more women and ethnic minorities.

The portraits include broadcasters Dame Esther Rantzen and Reeta Chakrabarti.

Oxford’s head of equality Trudy Coe said it was “sending a signal”.  More

Tower of London: First female Beefeater for 10 years

A Lancashire soldier has become the first woman in 10 years – and only the second in history – to be made a Beefeater at the Tower of London.

Amanda Clark, 42, who has served with the Royal Logistics Corps for 22 years, is the newest Yeoman of the Guard.

The Burnley-born soldier said: “It didn’t really hit me until the first time I wore the uniform and realised I am now part of the Tower’s history.”

The first female Beefeater was Moira Cameron, from Argyll, in 2007.  More

Britain’s first black female footballer after case of mistaken identity

A major discovery in women’s football history has revealed Britain’s first black female footballer – and she was playing in one of the sport’s earliest recorded games in the 1890s.

The emergence of her story is timely. On Tuesday evening, as football’s black achievers gather to be honoured at the Football Black List celebration, Futures Theatre will play out the story of the game’s female pioneers in a new production called Offside. It is the first time the central character of a black female footballer has been dramatised.  More

Call for ‘decently paid’ maternity leave

Statutory maternity pay for UK mothers is among the worst in Europe, according to an analysis by the TUC.

The trade union body says only Ireland and Slovakia have worse “decently paid” entitlements.

It defines decently paid as two-thirds of a woman’s salary or more than £840 a month.

The government said the UK’s maternity system was one of the most generous in the world and most mothers could take up to 39 weeks of guaranteed pay.

That was nearly three times the EU minimum requirement of 14 weeks, a statement said.  More

Should pupils have to learn sign language?

“When I meet hearing children who can sign, I feel happy and confident,” says Emmanuel, seven.

“I want to teach everyone British sign language – the whole world.”

Faiza, 11, says: “If children learnt more sign, it would mean I’d try to play with them more. Communication would be easier.

“If my hearing friends didn’t sign, I would feel lonely and sad.”

For these deaf children at Blanche Nevile School in north London, helping hearing peers learn British sign language (BSL) is a chance to break down barriers and make new friends.  More

Why universities can’t see women as leaders

On International Women’s Day 2017, it is sobering to acknowledge that still, just a fifth of UK higher education institutions are headed by a female vice-chancellor. And nothing’s changing very fast.

Though the percentage of women appointed to lead universities is creeping up – between 2013 and 2016, 29% of new VC recruits were female – the net gain has been negligible.

It’s not, sadly, as if higher education is a particular outlier – just 10% of FTSE 100 companies are led by a female CEO, a quarter of the current cabinet are women, and if we’re talking national newspapers, a paltry 20% of editors are female.

But in a publicly-funded educational setting that has been explicitly committed to equal opportunities for decades now – and with at least equal numbers of men and women studying for degrees – what is stopping highly capable women taking half the seats at the top table?  More

Women’s rights campaigner Mary Macarthur to get blue plaque

A trade unionist who championed the rights of working women in the early 20th Century is set to be honoured with a blue plaque, English Heritage said.

During World War One, Mary Macarthur fought for equal pay and better rights for women, including for those working in “appalling conditions” in factories.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, a blue plaque will be unveiled at her home in Golders Green.  More

Belated premiere for Fanny Mendelssohn

A sonata by Fanny Mendelssohn, which was mistakenly attributed to her more famous brother Felix, will be performed under her name for the first time on International Women’s Day.

The Easter Sonata was “lost” for 140 years before being discovered in a French book shop in 1970.

Many assumed it was composed by her younger brother but a US scholar proved otherwise by studying the manuscript.  More

United Partner with LGBT Inclusion Charity

Manchester United has become the UK’s first football club to partner with leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) charity, Stonewall.

The ground-breaking initiative will see the club work alongside Stonewall, helping to tackle LGBT issues in sport and society, while looking at best practice and ways in which inclusion and equality can be improved in football.

Through the partnership, United have become an official member of TeamPride, helping to form opinions, share best practice and influence behaviour by using the power of sport to harness the message of equality within the LGBT community and wider society.  More