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Purple gradient graphic with 'International Women's Day 2021' written on it, alongside the LU logo and the International Women's Day logo

Loughborough chooses to challenge for International Women’s Day 2021

Each year, the University celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) with a week-long programme of workshops, panel events and presentations to celebrate women from the Loughborough family and advance equality of opportunity at our institution.

This year is no different, and Loughborough is delighted to announce that each day will represent a theme linked to IWD’s 2021 overarching theme: Choose to Challenge.

Many of the events will be open to all staff, doctoral researchers and students, and will take place virtually via MS Teams from 8-12 March. It has been agreed by People and Organisational Development that all staff members are allowed to attend any sessions in their working hours.

Please note if you are unable to attend any of the events you are interested in due to other commitments, some sessions will be recorded and available to watch on-demand on the dedicated IWD page*.

Whether it’s chatting to colleagues in the daily Connect over Coffee sessions, sharing ideas for how to find calm in the chaos, attending a boxing class or learning how you can be a better ally, there’s something for everyone, regardless of your gender or background.

Staff members can book their place at the events online using my.HR (colleagues will receive an automated placeholder after booking, which will be followed up with the Teams meeting link on Friday 5 March) unless otherwise specified. Students, and Doctoral Researchers without access to my.HR, can register a place by emailing Please note bookings will remain open until Thursday 4 March. 

In addition to our exciting schedule of events, the University will also be running a number of initiatives in the lead up to and during the designated week.

To complement the global theme, we will be asking the Loughborough community to make their own pledge to support equality for all and to help make our University a more inclusive place to be. What do you choose to challenge? Simply download our digital pledge cards, add your own message and if you want to, share it with us by emailing

Dr Ksenia Chmutina, with the help of friends and colleagues, has also compiled a reading list sharing fiction and non-fiction reads about women. Covering themes of motherhood, resilience, romance, feminism, success, class and race to name a few, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

Furthermore, we’ll be showcasing a series of entries from ‘Letters to our teenage selves’ - an initiative launched in February which invited staff and students to write an open letter to their teenage self to recognise and celebrate what they have learnt so far and what they’d love their younger self to know.

On our dedicated IWD website, we’ll also be celebrating some of the fantastic research taking place across our two campuses by those specialising in gender studies and by women researchers who have inspired us and are achieving great things in their respective fields.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the website and our internal news pages over the next few weeks for more information on stories, events and activities taking place as part of International Women’s Day 2021.

And finally, in case you missed it, a small group of students are leading on the production of a one-off risograph-printed magazine supported by and in collaboration with LU Arts to celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s an artistic, creative, and inclusive publication to showcase, entertain, unite, and raise awareness of women and allies from all walks of life. It’s due to be published in time for IWD on Monday 8 March, but in the meantime, you can find out more here.

*Please note sessions which consist of an interactive discussion between speakers and attendees will not be recorded.

Monday 8 March

Tuesday 9 March

Wednesday 10 March

Thursday 11 March

Friday 12 March: