Yesterday, March 8th, I attended the first ever event held by the British Academy to celebrate International Women’s Day, under the theme "Celebrating Women in The Humanities and Social Sciences".
In a full-packed room, mostly by women with just half a dozen men in between (and since I touched on the issue of 'gender', let me mention 'race' as well: apart from me there were only two other black women in there), we had an opportunity to learn, share and discuss about the fight for women's rights for over a century from a British academic perspective:
Rt Hon Baroness Hale, DBE, FBA, Justice of the Supreme Court, Chancellor, University of Bristol, legal academic, barrister and law reformer made the introduction to the event
• Professor Christine Chinkin FBA of the London School of Economics talked about Chrystal Macmillan (1872-1937), barrister, feminist and pacifist and the first woman to be awarded a science degree
• Professor Uta Frith FBA, FRS, FMedSci, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience talked about the women who have inspired her – her mother, a teacher and a fairy tale character she admires
• Professor Nicola Lacey FBA, University of Oxford, explored scholarship on women and law
• Professor Anne Phillips FBA, London School of Economics, talked about one of the LSE’s founders and the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy, Beatrice Webb FBA (1858-1943)
and the writers Dame Rebecca West DBE (1892-1983)
and Germaine Greer
• Professor Pat Thane FBA, King’s College London, talked about sociologist, criminologist and Life Peer, Barbara Wootton (1897-1988)
• Professor Lisa Tickner, FBA, Courtauld Institute of Art, talked about writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
and the artist Nancy Spero (1926-2009)
... Ever imagined words like "merde" and "fuck you" being pronounced at the British Academy? Well, we heard them yesterday in the same sentence as Nancy Spero...
Professor Marina Warner, CBE, FBA, Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex, moderated the closing debate before a drinks reception.