As is now traditional I did some wikipedia editing, and also had some fun with AI animation.
This is the second time I’ve been on strike across International Women’s Day. The UCU strike action two years ago was at the same time of year.
That year, while we were on strike we were also hit by the ‘Beast from the East’ -unprecedented snow. This year we are hit by Coronovirus and the University is hurriedly making preparations ( but not reparations obv.).
The snow and the virus are acts of G_D and can be seen as business continuity incidents. The impact of both can be mitigated by use of learning technology.
If you are wondering why your university is slow to publish guidance on using tech for remote teaching and working from home. It may be because some of the professional expert teams are on strike.
The strike is not about short term things, it is about long term things and these are things worth recognising on IWD. The lack of equality at the University of Edinburgh is real. The pay gaps are real: gender (16.7%) and race (7.9%).
It is frustrating to not be able to come into work but we have gone for some digital celebrations, most of which do not require anyone to cross any picket lines.
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March 2020, events and activities are taking place across Information Services Group to celebrate women and their contributions to the University and beyond.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, a new training room at JCMB is being named after computer scientist and educator, Xia Peisu.
Xia Peisu (夏培肃) (1923 – 2014) has been hailed “the mother of computer science in China.” After graduating from The University of Edinburgh with a PhD in electrical engineering in 1950, she returned to China where she was recruited by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Xia eventually became a founding professor of the Academy’s Institute of Computing Technology and led the development of Model 107, China’s first locally designed general-purpose computer.
Throughout her long career, Xia made numerous contributions to the advancement of high-speed computers in China and helped establish both the Chinese Journal of Computers and the Journal of Computer Science and Technology. A devoted educator, she taught China’s first course in computer theory and mentored numerous students. In 2010, the China Computer Federation honoured Xia with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her pioneering work in China’s computer industry.
LinkedIn Learning playlist
The Digital Skills and Training team have compiled a LinkedIn Learning collection of International Women’s Day themed videos and courses. The collection includes videos in a wide range of topics, presented by women who are experts in their field, and will be available from Monday 24th February. To access this playlist, make sure you are logged in to LinkedIn Learning with your University account, and choose My Learning > From Your Organization > International Women’s Day 2020. Alternatively, you can view the collection at https://edin.ac/37Nhs1N.
For more about LinkedIn Learning, see www.ed.ac.uk/is/linkedinlearning
Digital Wall in the Main Library
The Main Library’s Digital Wall is showcasing images and videos of women who are shaping the University and those who have had a significant impact in their field. These range from content from our historic collections including L&UC digital images collections and videos have been curated from the Media Hopper media asset collection.
Visit the Main Library to see the Digital Wall, which will be live until the end of March 2020 as part of Women’s History Month.
Data-Driven Innovation – Women in Data campaign
The Data-Driven Innovation Women in Data campaign aims to showcase the rich landscape of women working with data science, technology and innovation across a diverse range of industries, fields and sectors in the City Region. From students to government ministers, chief executives to lab technicians, the campaign captures their achievements, careers and hopes for the future in our 60+ eclectic interviews.
Women in Data aims to show women and girls that others ‘just like them’ are thriving in these areas, including from atypical and ‘non-scientific’ backgrounds. The campaign sheds light on their stories and talents, and supports long-term, critical conversations about the ongoing journey to gender equality.
See the Data-Driven Innovation website for more information.
Will I be on strike for International Women’s Day? Well yes, I’ll have to if the UCU action carries on as planned.
But I have some questions. The UCU strikes are on chosen days. How and why were these chosen? We don’t strike on Friday, but we do on Thursday. International Women’s Day is not, presumably, a surprise to UCU. Why not chose that as a non-strike day so that we can attend our events? IWD has its origins in the women’s labour movement, but to commemorate it at our university events this year is to ‘betray it’? I wish my union had not put me in this situation.
A nearby ancient institution has already got itself in a tangle by linking E&D initiatives with the pensions strike * . I fear this is why we can’t have nice things.
For me IWD is part of a bigger picture, I understand that women are disproportionately hit by pension changes, but lets use this day to talk about that and the many other inequalities. I am pleased that my University supports IWD and that there are events to raise its profile for staff and students and I want to be part of it.
I am told that there are ‘lots’ of IWD events being held by academics off-campus so I can go to those (please send more details). Or I can go to the UCU march.
Academic colleagues are not the only people who hold, attend and value IWD events, and academics colleagues are not the only people in UCU, and they are not the only people who work at the University.
I would encourage staff who are not on strike to organise, attend and enjoy the University IWD events. It’s a great way to show your support for IWD and a healthy attendance will help to ensure that we get to do them again next year.
Here’s the post I was going to post for International Women’s Day:
The Red Thread
Did you know that IWD began with a strike by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU)? It was originally called “International Working Women’s Day“, its purpose was to give laboring women a focusing point in their struggle for fair working conditions and pay. This year International Women’s Day 2018 themes is #PressforProgress.
My great grandma Sadie was a member of ILGWU. A Jewish woman working in dangerous factory conditions as a garment worker in New York. My grandfather Stanley often complained later that he had missed out on jobs because his mother-in-law was ‘a communist’**. Occasionally I find ILGWU labels inside my vintage dresses. They are always well made. Here’s a picture of Sadie, and a picture of the ILGWU label in my dress today.
**Family lore is that she wasn’t actually a member of the Communist Party, but she voted for one, and that was enough to get her and her children on a list.
It is a source of great pleasure for me that in recent years the celebrations of International Women’s Day have co-incided nicely with Open Education Week. This makes it easy for me to find authentic and useful things to do as my contribution.
This time last year I was visiting a number of tech partners in California and the theme was #makingithappen This year the theme is #pledgeforparity and I’ve stayed at home.
I don’t find it difficult to see connections between feminism and open education movements. Both seek to give equality of access, challenge traditional structures and ways of doing things; and involve a diverse community of people in thinking about the greater good. Both also have outspoken advocates with strong opinions and sometimes end up arguing amongst themselves. Nonethless it’s been a fun week.
Saturday: A lovely day doing pleasant writing tasks at the Modern Scottish Women wikipedia editathon #artandfeminism. Working towards parity of coverage and parity of esteem with Jo, Gill, Sara and Mary.
Monday: I ate retro sweets with Charlie and Susie near our #OpenEducationWk display stand and attended the launch of Jo and Peta’s Dangerous Women Project to which I have contributed a blog post to be published later in the year.
Tuesday: On IWD2016 I spent some enjoyable time searching the digital archive of Spare Rib at the British Library to find images to use in my OER16 keynote. I was surprised to find that Spare Rib itself is not particularly well described in Wikipedia, so I spent some time on that too. I added a section on design to continue the #artandfeminism theme.
It seems to me that the big libraries are missing a trick if they are spending time making digitised collections open to the public and not taking a moment more to get a good article on the topic in Wikipedia. They probably need a Wikimedian in Residence.
Wednesday: While my teams were launching our new University of Edinburgh Open Educational Resources policy to #OEPS in Stirling, I was presenting online in Croatia for Sandra. Our policy is largely based on one crafted by Rebecca for Leeds.
Thursday: I worked with Dominique, our ISG gender equality intern to refine once more our ISG gender equality plan and with Sonia, Yujia, Susan and Lauren to edit the ’embracing openness’ double page spread for our upcoming BITS magazine.
Friday: Today I am working from home, fortified by jam by Anne-Marie and coffee warmed by Maggie’s bespoke knitwear. I see that all but one of the women artists we were editing on Saturday now have their own wikipedia page, and Lorna, Viv and Catherine are giving it a bit of welly in an ALT OER-SIG webinar to promote our April conference.
A good week’s work all.
I am spending much of International Womens Day this year on an international flight. I have been in California for a week buzzing about at various meetings and gathering good ideas.
Last year on this day I wrote a blog post too.
This year at work, in my new role and new division I am involved in a new set of gender equality initiatives. I am the only female Director in Information Services, I am a mentor within the department and an Aurora role model for the Leadership Foundation. Information Services is exploring approaches to using an Athena Swan-like framework to improve the working environment for all and my teams are working hard to figure out how we can usefully make it a success.
In the last few weeks we have carried out a staff survey in my division to gather feedback from colleagues. I am very pleased to say that despite having gone through a number of restructuring experiences and quite a bit of change, the majority of LTW staff say they are are satisfied with their jobs; receive appropriate praise and recognition; are treated with equality and respect and understand their role within the organisation.
In my new role I have been at pains to ensure that I do not send email to my staff outside of working hours. This is a deliberate attempt to send a signal that balancing work with family or home commitments is expected and ok. When I travel I keep my wrist watch tuned to UK time to help me remember what time it is at home and to ensure that the experience of working for, or with, me is one based on mutual respect. I admit I have lapsed occasionally, mostly by mistake because the email conversation is interesting, so I apologise to my team leaders for that.
I feel like I am continuing to do my bit to ‘Make it Happen’. Do you?