The Academic Women's Forum

The Academic Women's Forum is an inclusive group of self-identified academic women who meet to debate issues affecting academic women, with a focus on gender equality in the University.

We're not a formal committee but have the remit to discuss issues freely and pass on advice and suggestions to the University. We also invite guests, including senior University figures, to attend our meetings for a two-way exchange of information and views on specific topics.

From its very inception, academic women at the University have engaged in activities to improve the wellbeing of other women, including working to establish a Women’s Refuge in the city, childcare facilities on campus, encouraging the introduction of family friendly work practices, raising awareness of barriers to women’s promotion and the ongoing battle for equal pay.

In 2014 the Forum invited participants from every department. We came together because we shared concerns about gender issues and discrimination more broadly in the University, and we continue to pursue further diversity and inclusion.

Membership of the Forum is by invitation and informally includes one member from every academic department, together with invited members of departmental support staff and University Council. Members have expertise or a keen interest in women’s issues. Trust and confidentiality are essential factors to allow for frank discussions in a secure environment.

The Forum meets once a semester and makes no claim to exhaust debate and discussions of all women’s issues on campus. We welcome debate and exchanges with other groups, eg those representing early career staff, as well as suggestions of issues and concerns to add to the agenda.

"The Other 25 Years", a document celebrating the role of women in the first 25 years of the University of York is available by email request from

Since 2014, the Forum has debated many issues of significant impact upon women including:

  • gender pay-gap
  • gender and academic promotions and careers
  • sexual harassment and violence against women
  • mentoring
  • Athena SWAN application process
  • leadership training.

The Forum has also engaged with the University on a number of other significant issues, for example by generating nominations for Honorary Degrees, contributing to the feedback on Equality Pay Reviews and submitting proposals for the York Festival of Ideas.

For more information, or to express an interest in participating in the WF, or to suggest issues to debate, you can email the Forum Convener (, Deputy Convener ( or contact the Forum members in your department.

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680

  • Professor Henrice Altink, History (Convenor)
  • Dr Heather Marsden, Language and Linguistic Science (Deputy
  • Professor Irene D’Amico, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology
  • Dr Anna Bilbao, History of Art
  • Professor Amanda Sowden, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
  • Dr Anna Einarsdottir, School for Business and Society
  • Dr Marcia Garcia Reyes, Economics and Related Studies
  • Dr Catherine Laws, School of Arts and Creative Technologies
  • Professor Mary Leng, Philosophy
  • Professor Charlotte O’Brien, York Law School
  • Dr Kate Brown, School for Business and Society
  • Dr Rachel Alsop, Centre for Women’s Studies
  • Dr Hannah Roche, English and Related Literature
  • Dr Poonam Ramkar Yadav, Computer Science
  • Dr Elva Robinson, Biology
  • Dr Jude Brereton, School of Arts and Creative Technologies
  • Professor Karen Bloor, Health Sciences
  • Dr Karla Evans, Psychology
  • TBC, Archaeology
  • Professor Laura Bojke, Centre for Health Economics
  • Dr Alasia Nuti, Politics
  • TBC, Sociology
  • Dr Laura Sadofsky, Hull York Medical School
  • Dr Emily Dufresne Gould, Mathematics
  • Professor Vanita Sundaram, Education
  • Dr Lianne Willems, Chemistry
  • Dr Karen Parkhill, Environment and Geography
  • Dr Helena Daffern, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680