Skip to content

International Women’s Day will be marked by the University of Chester with an online event bringing together the first black woman to serve in a British Cabinet, Liverpool’s first black female MP, female business, education and charity leaders, staff and students.

Taking place on Monday, March 8 as part of the 16th University of Chester Diversity Festival, the free online session will showcase a range of inspirational female pioneers, sharing their stories and advice, including Baroness Valerie Amos, Master of University College Oxford.

Baroness Amos was appointed a Labour life peer in 1997 and was the first black woman to serve in a British Cabinet, as Secretary of State for International Development. She went on to become Leader of the House of Lords and has consistently sustained an interest in, and commitment to, issues of equality and social justice. 

Speakers at the Leading the Race for Equality event, organised with the University’s Institute of Gender Studies, from 12.50pm, also include:

  • Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester;
  • Carol Johnson-Eyre, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice Wirral;
  • Dr Vic Carr, Headteacher, Woodlands Primary School;
  • Chiedza Ikpeh and Emma Taonga-Sayers, Co-Founders of RARA Education Project - established to promote Real and Authentic Representations of Africans and Caribbeans in the context of Britain;
  • Alana Lukens, international student;
  • Sally Harding, Employer Engagement Manager at the University of Chester, and
  • Dr Julie Mulliner, Assistant Director of Human Resources at the University of Chester.

The day will feature a separate session with Student Race Advocate, Gemma Sparkes, in conversation with Kim Johnson, Liverpool's first black MP, and another event with Aderonke Apata. Aderonke is a Nigerian LGBTIQ activist and former asylum seeker who was granted right in the UK to remain, after a 13-year battle. She is the founder of African Rainbow Family, a group that supports LGBTIQ asylum seekers and people of African heritage in the UK, and Manchester Migrant Solidarity, a group that brings together migrants to provide mutual support and build a powerful political voice against systematic mistreatment. The session is organised with Dr Rachel Massey, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Department of Social and Political Science.

Professor Emma Rees, Director of the Institute for Gender Studies, said: “International Women's Day is a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements and the promotion of women’s rights. It is a day where women join together to share voices as we build on the progress made to date towards gender equality.

“We are honoured to welcome so many amazing women to our annual IWD event to speak about their experiences and look ahead.

“The event is aimed at anyone who aspires to a leadership position; who wants to become a more effective leader; or who simply wants to be inspired by this range of fantastic speakers. It’s not to be missed.”

The University of Chester free, online Diversity Festival features more than 60 speakers including football legend and anti-racism campaigner John Barnes and Joeli Brearley, who has recently published Pregnant Then Screwed: The Truth About the Motherhood Penalty.

Running until Friday, March 12, this year’s theme reflects both the important and current focus on race equality and also the need to achieve equality in relation to other protected characteristics, which include disability, age, gender, sexual orientation and religion.

For further information on the International Women’s Day, and all Festival events, and to book places please visit:


Share this content