The Story of Maia
The Maia network was established in May 2020. The founding members had an ambition to create a network that could unite women staff – both academic and professional services – and Doctoral Researchers across the Loughborough community, and the Covid-19 pandemic and first lockdown accelerated the need to provide a space for women across the University to come together. In the first few months, Maia became a place for women to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another within an inclusive space. Our membership grew quickly and Maia now has 550+ members.
Our name takes inspiration from the middle name of Claudia Sydney Maia Parsons, an alumna of the University who was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in a car and whose achievements capture the drive and ambition of the network. In Roman and Māori history, Maia also means ‘goddess of springtime, warmth and increase’, and ‘brave’ or ‘confident’, respectively.
Maia’s purpose is to: provide an inclusive community and enable connections; create meaningful, impactful events and initiatives; and deliver and advocate for change to progress gender equity at Loughborough.
We have harnessed the collective power of this fantastic network to progress gender equity at the University and have already had several achievements:
- Became the University’s fastest-growing staff network
- Created a mentoring scheme that introduced more than 70 pairs of mentees and mentors
- Led a research project that examined experiences of sexual harassment at Loughborough for women staff and students
- Created a ‘How to say when it’s not okay’ resource,in collaboration with Professor Liz Stokoe and our Discourse and Rhetoric Group
- Successfully lobbied for additional support for staff affected by increases to Campus Nursery fees
- Held more than 60 remote events, ranging from informal catch-ups to development workshops and panels
Our 2022/23 Priorities
Over the next year, we are focusing on four main priorities:
Connect: provide a vibrant and supportive community that brings people together and builds connections
- Celebrate: promote and share in the successes and achievements of our members and network, whatever form those take
- Advocate: grow Maia’s role in the space of advocacy and change relating to gender equity and University culture
- Collaborate: work to ensure that Maia comes together with other staff networks to progress collaborative EDI work that benefits the whole University