We are delighted to hear of the establishment of the Women’s Equality and Inequality Research Programme and that Professors Selina Todd and Senia Paseta will be leading this important project. Both have exemplary records in academic research and the fight for women’s rights. We look forward to seeing what comes from this initiative.
We wholeheartedly condemn the unfounded attack on both Selina Todd and Senia Paseta in a letter publicised in this week’s Oxford Student. This letter is the latest attempt to slur leading female academics and to threaten their livelihoods and their right to freedom of expression.
We are pleased to see the unequivocal support for Professors Todd and Paseta expressed by the Oxford Martin School which clearly recognises these vexatious attacks for what they are. It also understands its obligations as an academic institution to uphold and facilitate academic freedom.
In response to the letter, the Oxford Martin School said:
“The Oxford Martin School is committed to supporting people who wish to make or have made changes to their gender identity. It aims to create an inclusive trans-friendly culture and workplace, free from discrimination, harassment or victimization, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.
“The school supports research into major global challenges and narrowing inequality between men and women is by definition one such challenge. The Women’s Equality and Inequality programme will develop a better understanding of the reasons for women’s inequality and how we can overcome this.
“Professor Paseta’s specialism in the history of feminism and women’s education alongside Professor Todd’s expertise in the history of the working-class, women and feminism in modern Britain well-equips them to bring important new perspectives.
“We fully support the right of researchers to design and develop their own research within the University’s policies on academic freedom.
“The school appreciates that people can hold very strong and heartfelt views on some of the complex issues surrounding this topic. We hope that working towards greater equality globally will be positive for all people.”
We know from past experience that Oxford University as an institution shares this commitment and we thank them for allowing us to hold our meeting, A Woman’s Place is at the Lectern, at the Examination Schools in October 2019.
It is lamentable that any student at one of the world’s leading universities should be unaware of the basic principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression and speech, which are enshrined in UK and international law.
Women’s rights are under serious attack and any progress that has been made in recent decades is in danger of being reversed. In this context, the establishment of the the Women’s Equality and Inequality Research Programme is very welcome.
We stand in solidarity with Selina Todd and Senia Paseta and every other woman speaking up for women.
11th October 2020