'Gender equality in Oxford: how far have we come?' - International Women's Day roundtable discussion

Past Event

08 March 2017, 6:30pm - 7:45pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Adobe Stock Marek equality
© Adobe Stock/Marek

This is a joint event between the Oxford Martin School and TORCH's Women in the Humanities programme


  • Professor Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication; Fellow of Worcester College
  • Professor Louise Richardson, The Vice Chancellor, University of Oxford and Member, Women in the Humanities Advisory Board member
  • Professor Maggie Snowling, President, St John’s College
  • Dr Rebecca Surender, Advocate and Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality and Diversity, University of Oxford, Women in the Humanities Advisory Board member

The roundtable will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome

About the speakers

Professor Deborah Cameron came to Oxford as Professor of Language and Communication in January 2004. Before that she spent 20 years working in other universities in the UK and elsewhere: Roehampton University in London, Strathclyde University in Glasgow, the Institute of Education in London and the College of William and Mary in Virginia, USA. She has held visiting professorships and fellowships at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, New York University and the University of Technology Sydney.

Since coming to Oxford she has become increasingly involved in communicating with a wider audience about language and linguistic research. In 2007 she published The Myth of Mars and Venus, a general-interest book about language and gender differences, parts of which were serialized in The Guardian newspaper. She has contributed to numerous BBC radio programmes, including Woman’s Hour, Word of Mouth, Thinking Allowed and Fry’s English Delight. The non-academic groups she has been invited to talk to or write for on language-related subjects include school teachers and A level students, architects, experts in health and social care, market researchers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the cast of an RSC production of The Taming of the Shrew. She has a blog called 'Language: a feminist guide', and she occasionally performs as a linguistic stand up comedian.

Professor Richardson had served previously for seven years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. A native of Ireland, she received a BA in History from Trinity College, Dublin, an MA in Political Science from UCLA, and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard. She was Assistant and Associate Professor in the Harvard Government Department 1989-2001, serving as Head Tutor for several of those years.

Professor Richardson’s commitment to teaching won her both the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize during her time at Harvard. She also served as Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard 2001-2008 where she was instrumental in its transformation into an interdisciplinary centre promoting scholarship across academic fields and the creative arts.

A political scientist by training, Professor Richardson has specialised in international security with an emphasis on terrorist movements. She has written widely on international terrorism, British foreign and defence policy, security institutions, and international relations. Her publications include Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007), What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and When Allies Differ (1996).

Professor Richardson’s work has won numerous awards including the Sumner Prize for work towards the prevention of war and the establishment of universal peace. She has lectured on the subject of terrorism and counter-terrorism to public, professional, media and education groups across the world. She has also served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and presses.

Professor Richardson received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award in 2009. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2010 and was appointed to the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers the following year. In 2012, ahead of the 2014 centenary of the outbreak of World War One, she was appointed to the Scottish Commemorations Panel. Harvard University awarded Professor Richardson The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal in 2013. She also received an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, MGIMO, later that year. In 2015 she received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast and became an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 2016 the Vice-Chancellor was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom. She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Carnegie Corporation and the Booker Prize Foundation.

Professor Maggie Snowling took up the role of President of St. John’s in September 2012. Before that she held a personal Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of York where she was Co-Director of the Centre for Reading and Language.

She completed her first degree at Bristol and her doctorate at University College London. She is also professionally qualified as a clinical psychologist. She is a Past-President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and one of the Joint Editors of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. She served as a member of Sir Jim Rose’s Expert Advisory Group on provision for Dyslexia in 2009 and as an expert member of the Education for All: Fast Track Initiative group in Washington DC in 2011.

She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was appointed CBE for services to science and the understanding of dyslexia in 2016.

Her research focuses on children’s language and learning and she is specifically interested in the nature and causes of children’s reading difficulties and how best to ameliorate them.

Dr Rebecca Surender is Head of Department for Social Policy and Intervention and a Fellow of Green Templeton College. Her research, teaching and publications are primarily in the area of health policy and social policy in developing countries. She was a founding member and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy (CASASP) at Oxford University, the first UK academic centre to undertake research exclusively on South African social policy. Her main focus within South African social policy concerns the politics, implementation and outcomes of health and income maintenance policies. She has led a number of CASASP studies researching the implementation of the Child Support Grant, the effectiveness of Income Generation Projects, and the attitudes of benefit recipients to labour activation strategies and social grants. She has worked as a consultant and advisor for various multilateral and government agencies including the World Bank, UNRISD, UK DFID and SA DSD.

She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University, South Africa, where she is leading a three year collaborative project examining the implementation, policy dynamics and effects of the proposed new National Health Insurance (NHI) reforms.

Dr Surender has held a number of senior administrative positions within the Department, Green Templeton College and the wider University. She was elected a University Proctor for 2013-14 and was appointed a Pro Vice-Chancellor and University Advocate for Diversity in 2015. The post is designed to provide strategic direction and coordination to the various equality and diversity initiatives currently taking place throughout the university.