8 March 2017
Aurora, the Leadership Foundation’s women-only leadership development programme, has welcomed an astounding 1,029 women during its fourth year.
These 1,029 women join the 2,448 women who have taken part in the programme since it began in 2013. In total, 3,477 women have now taken part, growing 72% in four years.
This uptake demonstrates the committed action of the sector to seek out women’s leadership talent and invest in their potential as aspiring leaders. Aurora is about creating positive, proactive, change to support higher education institutions realise this potential.
Working in partnership with the sector, we have collaborated with 139 higher education institutions from across the UK and Ireland.
Vijaya Nath, director of leadership development at the Leadership Foundation, commented: “We are committed to providing continuous support to leaders in higher education through encouraging the growth of organisational cultures which are the foreground of equality, diversity and inclusivity. Aurora is a key part of our mission to support and work with the sector to achieve this. Working with Aurora participants, role models and champions and listening to their leadership experiences we know that these individual journeys will collectively create the momentum to achieve cultures that are more equal, where diversity is celebrated and where women are supported to achieve their potential.”
Speaking about the institutional impact of Aurora, the Aurora champion at Brunel University, Professor Lorraine De Souza, pro-vice chancellor (equality, diversity and staff development) said: “Aurora has had a huge impact for Brunel. It has highlighted our commitment to gender equality and ensuring women have the opportunity to apply for more senior positons in the organisation and that we want them to stay, grow and develop with us. Several have succeeded in advancing their careers, either through promotion or by attaining new leadership roles.”
Evidencing the impact of Aurora, women who have participated as role models and delegates have spoken to us about their experience.
Dr Hannah Bartlett, participant in 2014-15 and a senior lecturer at Aston University, said: “Aurora has helped me develop the skills necessary to progress my own career, as well to support my colleagues. I am now involved in mentoring and have recently been asked to lead a new institution-wide initiative called ‘Aston Women’, which aims to support women in reaching their full potential.”
The leadership journeys from past Aurora participants outline the opportunities that come from creating a space for women’s leadership development. Case studies and videos from women who have taken part highlight the diverse range of roles, disciplines and institutions engaging in the programme, and the many varied outcomes for these women as their leadership journey unfolds.
Aurora was created in response to our own research which shows that women remain under-represented in senior leadership positions, and identifies actions that could be taken to change this.
A national and international initiative, Aurora has run in nine locations since it began in 2013, including: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester.
In 2017-18 we will be running Aurora across the UK and Ireland. Dates and locations will be released this spring, all information will be available at www.lfhe.ac.uk/aurora.
Notes to Editors
In 2016-17 Aurora is running in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff and Leeds. For full information, visit: www.lfhe.ac.uk/aurora
Over five-years an expert team at Loughborough University are tracking the impact of Aurora, and the wider experiences of women working in the sector, in the ‘Onwards and Upwards’ longitudinal study -find out here: www.lfhe.ac.uk/aurorastudy