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Dr Stefania Ciocia explains what #ChooseToChallenge means to her on International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, I #ChooseToChallenge gender inequality and the silencing of all marginalised voices. As a starting point, I pause to reflect on my position of privilege – the ability to pause is itself part of that privilege – and its attendant responsibilities. I think back on the professional journey that has led me to my current role.

I pay tribute to the wonderful women who have supported me throughout my career: the teachers who inspire me, the mentors who guide me, the students whose fresh perspective makes me see things anew, the critical friends who challenge me to raise my game.

I salute the colleagues who model the leadership behaviour that I aspire to, and hope to be living up to: inclusive, collaborative, compassionate, self-reflective, accountable, unafraid of difficulty conversations, but also prepared to admit when we get things wrong and to make sure that we learn from our mistakes.

And I celebrate my current collaborators – from my closest ones to those I see less regularly – for sharing their knowledge, insights and advice with integrity and good humour, for their trust and encouragement, and for keeping me on my toes. Here, as in our interactions, I renew my commitment to fostering a collegiate working culture, underpinned by the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.

As a woman in a leadership position, I pledge to extend the opportunities that have been made available to me to other colleagues, so that together we can effect change in our own intersecting spaces and spheres of influence.


Dr Stefania Ciocia is Head of the School of Humanities and Educational Studies.

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