International Women's Day – Remarkable women who inspire our courses


04th Mar 2020




International Women’s Day is commemorated on 8 March every year. It is a day to reflect on gender equality progress, to push for further change and to celebrate women who have played an extraordinary role in shaping the world.

This International’s Women Day, we’re shining a spotlight on women from our academic subject areas, who have made a notable impact and inspired us.


Education: Malala Yousafzai

As a young teenager, Malala defied Pakistani extremists by going to school and, as a consequence, suffered violent attacks and survived being shot in the head by the Taliban. Due to her courage and the values she stands for, she has become an icon for the importance of educating women and children. In 2014, Malala was one of the joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.

She is also the founder of the Malala Fund, which promotes international, national and local level policy and system changes that give girls access to a quality education.


Psychology: Mary Ainsworth

Mary was an important developmental psychologist and lead researcher in the field of the attachment theory. She pioneered the use of an assessment technique known as the ‘Strange Situation Classification’ in order to observe early emotional attachment between a child and its primary caregiver. Her ground-breaking work had a major influence on the understanding of attachment styles and how these contribute to behaviour later in life.


Criminology: Jane Addams

Jane was a prominent criminologist, feminist, social reformer and pacifist during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. Known as the ‘mother of social work’, she dedicated her life to caring for the underprivileged and oppressed, and fighting for the rights of workers, women, and children. She was instrumental in successfully lobbying for the establishment of a juvenile court system, better urban sanitation and factory laws, and protective labour legislation for women. She was also a founding member of the National Child Labor Committee, which played a significant role in the passing of a federal child labour law in 1916.

In recognition of her work, she was named a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, becoming the first American woman to win this honour. Her peace work used many of the same concepts that current peace-making criminologists use today.


Law: Dame Linda Dobbs

Following a successful career at the Bar, Dame Linda made history when she became the first person of colour in the senior judiciary of England and Wales, having been appointed as a high court judge in 2004. She chaired a number of committees dedicated to improving race relations and equal opportunities.

She has been named as one of Britain’s most powerful black women and one of 100 Great Black Britons. In 2013 she stepped down early from the High Court Bench to pursue various interests, including training judges and lawyers internationally, particularly in the Caribbean and Africa.


Nursing: Florence Nightingale

Florence is widely recognised as the founder of modern nursing. She was born in 1820 to an upper-class English family in Victorian England. She defied conventions placed on women at the time: studying nursing in Germany, working at a hospital in London and then at a British military hospital in Constantinople during the Crimean War.

Known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ due to her practice of making the rounds of wounded soldiers at night, she dedicated her life to treating the sick and frail, reforming hospital conditions and developing the field of preventive medicine. She also set up the first secular nursing school in the world and helped to professionalise nursing roles for women. Her work had a strong impact on the fields of healthcare and nursing.


Healthcare Management: Dame Katherine Christie Watt

Dame Katherine was the first nurse to be appointed to a permanent post within the British Civil Service to advise on nursing matters. As Chief Nursing Officer she had a unique opportunity to contribute a nursing perspective to policy debates on the healthcare services in time of war and plans for the new National Health Service (NHS), both of which were dependent on a trained nursing service.


Public Health: Marie Curie

Marie Curie is one of the most famous scientists of all time. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and one of only two recipients ever to win the Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific fields (physics and chemistry); she was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris; and the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

She conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals during the First World War. Her research and discoveries led to the radiotherapy treatment available to cancer patients today. Her legacy is both physical and societal – she overturned established ideas in chemistry and physics, while overcoming barriers placed on women at the time.


Management: Virginia “Ginni” Rometty

Ginni joined IBM as a Systems Engineer in 1981. She steadily climbed up the career ladder at the company eventually rising to directorial positions in global sales, marketing and strategy. Since being named President and CEO in 2012 – IBM’s first female CEO – she has been recognised for her leadership skills and listed in TIME’s 20 Most Influential People in Tech and Fortune’s ‘The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business: Global edition’. After 40 years at the helm of IBM retired at the end of 2020.


Human Resources: Kathleen Hogan

Kathleen is Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Chief People Officer at Microsoft. She is responsible for enabling over 100,000 global employees to achieve Microsoft’s mission which is focused on ‘empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more’. She ensures the company has a culture that attracts and inspires the world’s most talented to join.


Finance: Anne Finucane

Anne oversees Bank of America’s strategic direction and governs how the bank impacts the world. She is focused on sustainable development goals and the application of data and analytics to improve profitability. She is credited with turning the bank’s fortunes around ten years after the 2008 financial crisis. She helped launch the Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell University to empower female entrepreneurs.


Marketing: Mari Smith

Mari is a Premier Facebook Marketing Expert dubbed “the Queen of Facebook”. She is considered one of the top resources and thought leaders in the world of social media marketing. She regularly appears in media publications such as Fortune, Inc. and The New York Times. Her work has also been recognised by Forbes who listed her as one of ‘25 Marketing Influencers To Watch’ and IBM who named her one of ‘7 women who are shaping digital marketing’.


Project Management: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl is the founder of (the Lean In Foundation) and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and she was the first woman to be elected to Facebook’s board of directors. She actively promotes the importance of women’s presence and leadership in business. She also co-authored a book with Nell Scovell, ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’, which became an international bestseller.


Computing: Annie Easley

Annie was a computer programmer, mathematician and rocket scientist. She was one of the first African Americans to work as a computer scientist at NASA. She developed and implemented code used in researching energy-conversion systems and analysing alternative power technology – including the battery technology that was used for the Centaur upper-stage rocket, as well as early hybrid vehicles. Her contributions to the Centaur project helped lay the technological foundation for launching future satellites and space vehicles. She was also an advocate for and encouraged women and people of colour to work in STEM fields.


If you’ve been inspired by these incredible women and want to learn more about their fields – get our prospectus now!