Celebrating the women of the Commonwealth on International Women's Day

Celebrating the women of the Commonwealth on International Women's Day

Published on 08 March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a time to reflect on progress made in women’s rights, and to press forward for gender parity. This year, the theme for IWD is #PressforProgress – a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

To mark this occasion, we are shining a light on some amazing women in the world of education in the Commonwealth.

First up is Robbie Francis, a PhD candidate at ACU member Otago University, and a human rights advocate who co-founded a social enterprise to improve disability inclusiveness through sustainable trade. Robbie was also one of 30 students who attended our Residential School on respect and understanding last December. She is an inspiration, and a great role model for the #PressforProgress movement – listen to her story here:

Next up is Dr Catherine Abiola Akinbami, a researcher at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Through the ACU’s CIRCLE programme, she was awarded a visiting fellowship at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to study how climate change affects women and rural entrepreneurship.

CIRCLE Fellow Dr Catherine Abiola Akinbami

‘As a result of my research, I am now working with policymakers and other stakeholders to design and implement ‘climate smart’ projects within the community. Read more about Dr Akinbami's and other CIRCLE Fellows' work at issuu.com/the_acu/docs/bulletin_no_192/14

Last but not least, now is a good time to remember the historic achievement of three female Secretary Generals – the ACU’s own Dr Joanna Newman, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Patricia Scotland, and Commonwealth of Learning’s Professor Asha Kanwar – at this year’s Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Fiji.

Together, they signed a pledge to work together to support member states in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through education. The Commonwealth Education Partnership for Sustainable Development will ensure inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Read more at www.acu.ac.uk/news/view?id=202&x[0]=news/list.

The ACU plays an active role in supporting the recruitment and retention of women in higher education leadership and management through the Gender Programme. We work with universities to promote gender equity as an integral institutional goal, and improve safety and access for students and staff.

Find more information about International Women’s Day at www.un.org/en/events/womensday/ and www.internationalwomensday.com/