Women are still facing daily challenges and barriers ranging from childcare, family politics, male-dominated work environments, anxiety, professional and personal environments biased against women, lack of gender equality, and a lack of access to leadership positions. Today we are focusing on finding our voice in academia. Finding our voice can be extremely difficult and it takes courage to stand up for ourselves. It is much easier to just go with the flow and just please others in our environments. However, this passive behaviour leads to the neglect of ourselves and can negatively affect our wellbeing and even hinder progress in our academic careers. It is not right to be told what we can do and achieve. Being a mother and having kids does not mean we should have fewer career prospects nor does choosing to do academic careers differently. We have to voice and take action to show what we can do, because we have the right to achieve anything we want.  

Finding our voice within a generational context is pivotal as it supports us in reflecting on our individual views, values, and experiences within the broader socio-cultural-economic-political and historical environment of our generation. We can learn so much about our practices and the ways we can use our voice by listening to the wealth of knowledge of our female senior academics. Most of them fought for their academic careers in male-dominated institutions. This made them incredibly strong leaders who today are mentors for many female academics. Understanding what these leading academic women went through during times of even greater inequality can make a real difference in how we navigate our academic junior lives. There is almost nothing more valuable than female academic leaders who inform their practices on the nexus of intertwined historically informed practices.

Thus, we need to celebrate our female senior academics who can support and empower the force of junior academics and enable positive change-making in any HE disciplines. Having said that, the future of empowering women in academia also rests on the shoulders of our yet-to-be academics – our girls – and the boys who learn the importance of gender equality. It starts in our homes and schools where it is everyone’s responsibility to empower young girls to find their voice and become resilient and confident leaders from an early age. Our girls are the future female leaders who take over from the current seniors and current junior academics. If we are giving them a chance to have a voice today, we are enabling them to flourish in the future and lead our organizations with fidelity to inclusive and sustainable leadership practices.

Here is a paragraph written by Nila Sathish (7yrs) whose favourite quote is “Girls should never be afraid to be smart.” – Emma Watson. In the following scanned paragraph, Nila is voicing why she believes women are great and important leaders.

Here is another wonderful statement written by one of Christa’s great Master’s students Aisha Dhama.

I am fortunate to come from a family with a strong foundation where all the males respect and support my decisions. In my family, every woman is educated and highly respected, thanks to the teachings of our elders, who understand the importance of women’s voices. If we instil the value of women’s voices in our children from a young age, we can make this world more beautiful. Empowering women and girls to have a voice is about breaking down the barriers that silence them and advocating for their rights and equality in all areas of life. It’s about creating safe and respectful spaces where their contributions are valued, and their voices are heard. Giving women and girls a voice can create positive change, foster inclusivity and diversity, and achieve gender equality and justice. Education is one of the areas where women and girls need a voice, and by advocating for their right to education, we can enable them to shape their futures, pursue their aspirations, and contribute to developing their communities and societies. Giving women and girls a voice is not only a matter of fairness; it’s crucial for building a more inclusive and equitable world for everyone.

So, let’s celebrate and empower each other and let’s get together right now to take positive actions to make a positive impact for female academics around the globe. We believe the following action points support this endeavour and we hope to motivate, inspire and empower many female academics to find their voice. Let’s act today:

  • Amplify one woman’s voice!
  • Acknowledge and remember one woman who has inspired and supported your academic journey.
  • Show a mini video or presentation to girls and boys and explain the importance of women in academic disciplines.
  • Give one female student, ECR, PGR an opportunity to contribute and make a difference in a small or large project.
  • Acknowledge and remember the importance of women leading by example.
  • Sponsor or mentor one academic woman.
  • Say thank you to as many female colleagues as you can 😊