150-year-old image recreated for International Women’s Day

Credit: The University of Glasgow

Clara Punsita Ritthikarn

The original picture from 1870 featured 26 male professors on the University’s iconic “Lion and Unicorn” staircase as a backdrop.

The University of Glasgow’s senior women leaders assembled to recreate their own historic scene based on a 150-year-old all-male professors’ photo ahead of celebrations for International Women’s Day. The new version features over 200 female professors and senior professional service staff. 

The senior women leaders are hopeful that this 21st century digital recreation will act as a catalyst for reflection, discussion and action on the terms of gender equality. 

“Over the 150 years we have been at our current campus in Glasgow’s West End there have been huge changes in the size and make-up of our staff and student body. To mark this important 150th anniversary, it was felt that it was right to offer a new moment in time in the University’s 569-year history”, said Professor Jill Morrison, Clerk of Senate and vice principal, who is the University’s Gender Equality Champion. 

She added: “On the occasion of the first image being created, there were no women leaders, academics or students at the University. We felt it was important to reflect how far we, as an institution, have come, while also acknowledging that we still have a way to go on our journey to gender equality.

“I hope that this photo will inform discussions and reflection on gender equality both on International Women’s Day and throughout the year.”

Professor Heddon, James Arnott Chair in Drama, said: “Many of my female colleagues remarked that it would be good to create a new photo for the 21st century. What better opportunity than the 150-year anniversary of the move to Gilmorehill and International Women’s Day 2020?

“Today, we celebrate our female colleagues’ achievements and acknowledge where we are now and where we still need to get to in terms of equality.”

According to the University’s 1870 records, all the academics were men, including its senior leaders, made up of 26 professors. All the University’s 1,279 students in 1870 were men until 24 years later when the first four women graduated. 

Today, 31.3% of senior leaders, including professors and senior professional service leads, are women. Nearly 4,855 women are employed at the University and half of the 14 people in the University’s senior management are women. Also, nearly 60% of the 30,000 student population at the University are female. However there remains a 16.2% gender pay gap at the University.


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