University of Plymouth Women's Network

Welcome to the University of Plymouth Women's Network

Focusing specifically on providing a unified voice for people who identify as a woman, the network is open to all staff within our University community. Our network is inclusive, and men are welcome to join and attend our events and engage in the discussion on gender parity for all.

The aims of the Network are to provide:

  • ; A platform for the voice and views of women within the University to be represented and channelled.
  • < A forum for debate on issues that are pertinent to women in the workplace.
  • ' A forum for networking across the organisation for women to share experiences and offer support to one another in confidence.
  • H Targeted development activities and events for women including peer coaching, mentoring and support.

Marking the life and achievements of Plymouth's first female doctor

In the centenary of women’s suffrage, the University and Plymouth City Council installed a commemorative blue plaque to honour Plymouth’s first woman doctor Rosa Bale, who practised as a GP in Portland Square. Having had to fight against male prejudice, she was a keen suffragist, and supported other female doctors who followed her.

“At a time when glass ceilings would have been ten metres thick, she not only qualified as a doctor, but was a revered speaker and made a huge difference to local public health in Plymouth.” Professor Hilary Neve.

The blue plaque on the University's Portland Square Building

Who we are and what we do

The network has several elements as follows:

The network is co-chaired by members of the advisory group. Ismini Vasileiou and Rebecca Lee currently share this responsibility. They formally represent the Women’s Network on the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and ensure that the Network’s activities are guided by its aims and the recommendations of the Advisory Group.

Women’s Network Advisory Group

The role of the Women’s Network Advisory Group is to guide the Network, and ensure that its activities reflect the aims of the Network and the expectations of its members.

The Advisory Group meets every two months to represent the views of women in the organisation and to review the relevance and value of the work and role of the Network.

There is a shared accountability amongst Advisory Group members to lead on activities, and to co-ordinate events accordingly. 

Members volunteering to lead on specific activities are supported by the Advisory Group’s teams dedicated to:

  • the Network’s website and information sharing
  • logistical support for organising activities
  • the Network’s mentoring and peer support scheme
  • Network membership management.
Any member of the Women’s Network can apply to join the Advisory Group which aims to have representation from across the University. Colleagues who may be on maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave are also warmly welcomed as ‘virtual’ network members.

Founding members

The network was founded in the summer of 2015, by Vikki Matthews, Margaret Schwartz, Pauline Kneale and Patricia Livsey, to empower women within the University, and to promote a culture of high performance and respect.

Athena SWAN

We're a long-term supporter of the Athena SWAN programme. This is a national scheme, focused on advancing equality for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine in higher education.

Find out more about our Athena work