Women’s history to be celebrated through literary works

International Womens Day

A special event will use the works of female writers to celebrate the historic achievements of women through the ages and mark International Women's Day (8 March).

Birmingham City University will host the International Women’s Day ‘Big Read’ at its City Centre Campus on Thursday 8 March, which will see staff and students invited to read the works of female authors for fifteen minutes each throughout the day.

The event aims to raise awareness of gender inequality at a time when women’s rights are back in the spotlight and celebrations are marking 100 years since the Suffragette movement first secured women the vote.

Fifteen minute slots will be handed to readers from 9am to 5pm and will include the chance to read works by female authors.

The ‘Big Read’ will run alongside a Pop-Up Reading Room which will feature a wide range of resources highlighting women’s past and present achievements.

Athena SWAN

Birmingham City University

The Pop-Up Reading Room will take place on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March at the University’s Curzon Building from 10am to 4pm, and staff and students will be invited to visit, browse, read, reflect and discuss with others.  

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas, Senior Research Fellow and Athena SWAN Project Manager at Birmingham City University, said: “The idea for a Pop-Up Reading Room arose from the coinciding of International Women’s Day, the centenary of suffrage and the extensive media coverage of Weinstein, the #MeToo campaign and the gender pay gap. 

“There has been a huge amount of coverage of feminist history and contemporary comment – fascinating and important but almost too much to take in.  The Pop-Up Reading Room will offer an opportunity for all staff and students to reflect at greater length on these rich resources.”

The Pop-Up Reading Room will also feature a Research Zone where University researchers currently exploring topics relevant to International Women’s Day, gender equality and feminism will be talking about their work. 

The events have been organised by Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas alongside Diane Kemp, Professor of Broadcast Journalism and Dr Kate Thomson, Associate Professor in Health, Education and Life Sciences.

They aim to bring university staff and students together to mark International Women’s Day as well as drawing attention to the University’s engagement with the Athena SWAN Charter principles

A sister event to the Pop-Up Reading Room will be taking place at the University’s City South Campus featuring an exhibition room and talks from academics researching women’s subjects.

Elizabeth Yardley, Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, will formally open the Pop-Up Reading Room with a ribbon cutting.

All three organisers are members of the University's Athena SWAN Steering Committee.

The University’s Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award recognises a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.

Twitter updates for the Pop-Up Reading room event can be followed using #IWD18popupreadingroom

Updates on the ‘Big Read’ event can be followed using #IWD18BigRead

University staff and students can sign up for a 15 minute reading slot here.

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