Students Staff

12 June 2015

Shami Chakrabarti launches Women of the Future

Shami Chakrabarti

Chancellor Shami Chakrabarti

Chancellor of the University of Essex, Shami Chakrabarti, is launching an Appeal which will support the next generation of inspirational women with the potential to change the world.

The Women of the Future Appeal has raised more than £100,000 before its official launch to fund 25 scholarships for women from around the world to study for a Masters degree at Essex.

Shami explained: “I am proud to launch the first ever Chancellor's Appeal at Essex. This initiative will support the most talented women, those that are willing to challenge conventions and push boundaries across the world.

“Gender injustice is so embedded in our society and our world that sometimes we stop seeing it. It’s time to wake up, give ourselves a shake and confront those content with the status quo.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster added: “These inspirational women from across the world will come to the University to work with our staff and benefit from an Essex education, with our graduates going out into the world and making it a better place.”

Among the University’s graduates are Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the first woman speaker of Bangladesh’s Parliament, former MP and Secretary of State Baroness Virginia Bottomley, actress Alison Steadman, fair trade pioneer Carry Somers and barrister Aisling Reidy, former Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

The Appeal aims to raise £500,000 to fund the Women of the Future scholarships. and is the first of its kind in the University’s 50-year history.

Inspirational women from among staff, students and graduates have been lending their support to the aims of the Appeal. Essex computer scientist Professor Maria Fasli said: “I would like to see more women aiming higher in their careers and the only way you can do that is through furthering your education, so the Chancellor’s Appeal will provide this opportunity to a number of women.”

Essex graduate and human rights lawyer Téa Braun said: “I believe passionately in the right to equality, and yet many people including women and sexual minorities do not know what it feels like to enjoy equal rights in all spheres of life.”

Activist, academic and Essex graduate Dr Aisha K Gill said: “This is a place where you can become who you really want to be, a place where diversity is respected, valued and nurtured. Essex gave me wings to fly – it is an empowering place to study and grow.”

And alumna and teacher Dr Liz Bailey said: “I am supporting the Chancellor’s Appeal because I think it is a fantastic opportunity for women to flourish academically, follow their path and really gain some self-confidence and some idea about what they are interested in and what they want to do in the future.”

The University will match each donation pound for pound to build up the scholarship fund, which was launched at its Annual Meeting on Friday 12 June. Friends and supporters of the University can find out more or make a donation through the Appeal website

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