Annual Athena SWAN Lecture 2017

Date: Wednesday 21 June 2017

Time: 11am-12.30pm

‌Venue: Management School Lecture Theatre 3‌‌

The Athena SWAN lecture is an annual event that gives the community of Lancaster University the chance to hear an external speaker share insights into their own career and experience, through the lens of gender equality.

This year our speaker is Dr Sharifah Sekalala - Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Warwick.

All are welcome to attend this FREE event – but places are limited.

Book your place by emailing

‌‌Gender and Ethnicity in Higher Education. A Personal Perspective on Visibility and Intersectionality.

Sharifah Sekalala sidebar image AS lecture 2017 Lancaster University

Dr Sharifah Sekalala is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Warwick (UK), where she researches regulation within global health institutions. She has also researched the role of intersectionality in enabling women’s participation in global health financing.

Sharifah has been at the University of Warwick since 2007. She undertook her PhD in the Law School and later took up an Early-Career Post-Doctoral position funded by the Institute of Advanced Studies before being appointed as a 3-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Law School.

‌Before Warwick, Sharifah did a Masters Degree in Law at the University of Nottingham and previously completed her Bachelors Degree and Bar Course in Uganda. Sharifah worked in Uganda as an advocate for the law firm Sebalu and Lule and also at the International Bar Association in London. She is a member of the Ugandan Bar Association.

Sharifah sits on several gender- and diversity-related committees, including the Warwick Law School Equality and Diversity Committee, the University of Warwick’s Gender Task Force and the Self-Assessment Team for the Race and Equality Chartermark.

In her presentation Dr Sekalala will comment on her own experiences as a Black woman in academia, both positive and negative; she will also encourage us to think about the ways that universities, and the people who work in them, may unintentionally be perpetuating poor practice that can reinforce a sense that Higher Education is not fully inclusive. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A, and the entire event promises to be a thought-provoking discussion.  

At Lancaster University, the Athena SWAN chartermark forms part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision 2020, and is primarily concerned with gender equality in higher education. The process of applying for an award asks HEIs, faculties and departments to examine their practices around gender equality in areas such as staff recruitment, retention and promotion, student recruitment and the membership of committees. Athena SWAN also asks us to reflect on other aspects of equality, such as ethnicity and disability, and the ways in which these different kinds of identity can overlap and intersect.


Lancaster University Athena SWAN Lecture

The annual Athena SWAN lecture is one of the most important events in Lancaster University's gender equality calendar. Every year we invite a distinguished female academic to talk about her research and her career. These inspirational events are open to all.

Previous speakers have included:

2016 - Professor Karen HolfordProfessor Karen Holford

Karen Holford is a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University and a professor of engineering specialising in acoustic emission, in which field she has led research projects totalling more than £5 million.

She has won numerous accolades including Welsh Woman of the Year in Science and Technology and a WISE Excellence Award for “personal contribution to engineering and a long term commitment to supporting girls and young women in science and engineering”.

A video of her lecture, ‘Damage identification in engineered structures’, can be seen here.

2015 - Professor Lesley YellowleesProfessor Lesley Yellowlees

Lesley Yellowlees is Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh and a professor of inorganic electrochemistry.

She combines her academic interests with a keen interest in public engagement in science and promoting women in science. 

She became the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012 and is both an MBE and, since 2014, a CBE.

Professor Yellowlees' lecture, 'Women in Science', focused on the 'leaky pipeline' in STEM and asked what could be done to fix it.

2014 - Professor Dame Nancy RothwellProfessor Dame Nancy Rothwell‌‌

Nancy Rothwell is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester and a professor of physiology.

She has been named as one of the most powerful women in the UK by the Radio 4 programme Woman's Hour, and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2005.

Dame Nancy has a strong interest in public communication of science and makes regular appearances in the media, including being the subject of R4's flagship science programme The Life Scientific.

Her lecture was entitled 'A life in science'.