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Equality and Diversity

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of women coming together through political activism, we commemorate International Women’s Day by celebrating the outstanding women of Durham University making a difference.

Durham has an incredible history of women making a difference to the University community as well as the wider, international community in which we work. We would like to celebrate the achievements of current staff and students as we seek nominations for those female or non-binary student and/or staff member that has made a difference to the nominator, to their academic or professional field, or to the wider community.

Thank you to everyone that nominated Durham Women! See who has been inspiring our staff and students, we are looking forward to celebrating their achievements in May. Take a look below and be inspired by some Durham women who have made a difference!

Throughout our history, amazing Durham women have been making a difference…

Ella Bryant

In 1892 Ella Bryant passed the BSc examination with second class honours in physics. In June 1893 she tried to pay the fee for the BSc degree, but was refused. The university applied for a supplemental charter "almost immediately" after this, allowing it to grant degrees to women in all subjects but divinity, and it was granted in 1895. Bryant received her BSc on 24 June 1895, becoming the first woman to receive a degree from Durham.

Dorothea Ruth Etchells

was an English poet and college principal who spent most of her working life in the University of Durham. From 1968, she taught in the English Department and soon became Vice Principal of Trevelyan College. In 1979 she was appointed principal of St John's College, Durham, a notable appointment because this made her both the first lay person and the first woman to be principal of a Church of England college, Cranmer Hall (part of St. John's).

Mo Mowlam

a Durham University alumna (reading sociology and anthropology) was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Redcar from 1987 to 2001 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. As the first woman to hold the post of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo is credited with helping to restore an IRA ceasefire and including Sinn Féin in multi-party talks about the future of Northern Ireland.

Iona Cameron

is a current Durham student who led the 2018 Durham University Charity Fashion Show to a record-breaking £106,000 raised for the mental health charity, Mind. Alongside working on their degrees, Iona and her team of 18 executives worked tirelessly organising, planning and securing sponsors, photo shoots, video-shoots, brands, four launch events and two nights of the show hosting 1,820 guests. Iona stated, “I am most proud of my team; everyone went above and beyond to give their most to the event.” Mind was chosen as the charity beneficiary as Iona and her team recognised that mental health is a serious issue amongst university students, "many students suffer directly and indirectly from mental health issues, it made me understand the importance of charities like Mind.” Mind has stated that the funds raised will go toward setting up a phone-in support system, estimated to support over 12,000 people.

Hazel Smith

is a Durham University graduate and a para-triathlon guide working with visually impaired athletes. Whilst at Durham, Hazel participated in rowing, she is a former Scottish national age group swimming champion. However, it was triathlon that she later settled on. In 2014 Hazel won both the national Sprint and Standard distance national titles in her Age-Group (25-29). She was also selected as a reserve for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Triathlon Team. At Rio 2016 she made her Paralympic debut as a guide for Alison Patrick, the pair winning silver in the women's PT5 event.

Assistant Professor Dr Charlotte Adams

has been awarded the Aberconway Medal by the Geological Society. This prestigious medal is awarded for excellence in applied geoscience and reflects Charlotte's ground breaking work in ultra-low enthalpy geothermal energy. Heat can be extracted from the water flooded coal mines. The legacy of mines in the UK, their abundance and their distribution is such that most of the major population centres in the UK could have heat supplied from such mines allowing the UK to improve its energy security while simultaneously decarbonising heat. Translation of theory to practise is underway!

Professor Rosemary Cramp

A specialist in Early Medieval Art and Architecture, Old English Literature and Archaeology, she was also an early advocate of scientific applications. Awarded a CBE and an FBA for her outstanding contributions to early medieval archaeology, she successfully nurtured two generations of scholars and acted as a role model for female archaeologists, including becoming Durham's first female professor. An enthusiastic supporter of archaeology research in the North East, she is
currently championing the nomination of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth Monasteries for UNESCO World Heritage Status. In 2008 she was awarded the highest award of the Society of Antiquities - their Gold Medal.