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Murray Edwards College’s ‘Women Today, Women Tomorrow’

We recently started working with Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, on PR for its 60th anniversary year and profiling for President Dame Barbara Stocking. The Campaigning team previously worked with Barbara for about three years, in her former role as CEO of Oxfam GB.

Murray Edwards College, formerly New Hall, kicked off its anniversary celebrations this month by publishing a report that explored women’s views on their life and careers post-graduation.  Almost 1,000 of the College's alumnae took part in the research, which found that by far the biggest challenge women have faced is a non-supportive working culture.  Disappointingly, this was as true for the College’s younger alumnae of women aged 20-29, as it was for older age groups.  38% of respondents who reported workplace challenges cited some form of gender inequality (far outstripping the difficulties of balancing family and childcare).  This ranged from overt discrimination, to bullying by management, to a realisation that, as a woman, they had to do so much more to prove themselves than their male counterparts.

We worked on an exclusive with The Independent and subsequently secured coverage in The TimesCambridge News, a blog from Barbara on the Huffington Post and from journalist Dina Medland.

The report, Women Today, Women Tomorrow was produced by our in-house Design and artworking team.

We also worked with Barbara on a comment piece and accompanying press release in support of UCL’s open letter to the Daily Mail, for a diary piece which suggested that female scientists invited to appear on flagship BBC programme Newsnight were chosen for reasons other than their academic expertise.

Barbara said: “…the hostility often faced by women in positions of seniority or visibility in public life was brought to the fore by the Daily Mail’s diary story about the panel of experts invited to discuss the results of the BICEP2 study on Newsnight.

“One of the two female scientists in question, Dr Hiranya Peiris, a world-leading expert on the study of the Cosmic Microwave Background, was a Murray Edwards (formerly New Hall) alumna. The other, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, is a renowned space scientist and presenter of The Sky at Night.

“Not only was the diary piece profoundly insulting to the two female experts concerned, but what struck a chord me was the language used. To describe one of our leading science communications experts as ‘giggling’ speaks volumes about the different adjectives we use to describe men and women.”

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