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2018 2018

Lady English Lecture 2018

17:30
Lady English Lecture 2018

The Lady English Lecture Series has since 2013 been exploring different aspects of equality. As our 125th Anniversary year draws to a close, we hosted a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Equality: Global Perspectives’. Helping us to assess the global challenges to equality and consider possible solutions were our distinguished panellists, Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change; Professor Sudhir Anand, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Oxford and Research Director of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University; and Lucy Lake, CEO of Camfed (Campaign for the Education of Women).

If you were unable to join us, the 2018 Lady English Lecture is available to watch here.

What happened at the event

Our Principal, Professor Sir Gordon Duff, began the evening by welcoming our speakers and attendees to the 2018 Lady English Lecture. Lady English then thanked the College and donors to the Lady English Fund for making it possible for the annual lecture series to continue beyond its initial five years.

Equality has been a central theme of each and every Lady English Lecture since the first one in 2013. This is particularly appropriate as St Hilda's College places equality of opportunity next to excellence in its mission statement. Our Vice Principal, Dr Georgina Paul, then introduced our panel members, whose careers have been dedicated to challenging inequality.

Professor Sudhir Anand, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Oxford and Research Director of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, began by delineating what we might mean by inequality. He went on to talk about income inequality. Professor Anand raised three fundamental questions: equality of what? among whom? and where? He described a growing inequality crisis in which, quoting an Oxfam statistic, the wealthiest 1 per cent of the global population own more than the remaining 99 per cent.

Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change, spoke of past successes in combating inequality as well as current and future challenges. There have been improvements in nutrition, life expectancy and education around the globe and we need to acknowledge and learn from such achievements. Professor Goldin made the point that many of the gains have been made due to the power of ideas. Global waves of change challenge concepts of equality that are deeply rooted. For example, gay marriage is now allowed in 42 countries in the world. Concepts of fairness are central to whether we accept growing inequality or not. Our ability to function as cohesive societies is undermined by inequality.

Lucy Lake, CEO of CAMFED, spoke about how CAMFED's work in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa is challenging inequality, as girls' education is a key driver of equality. The organisation aims to get girls into school and to enable them to stay there. Boys heavily outnumber girls in the school system. Once the children are in school, CAMFED focuses on equality of education for all. To date, CAMFED has supported 2.6 million children, and they focus on reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised. Their alumnae number more than 120,000. Among them are young women leaders who are going back into local schools as Learner Guides. An international BTEC has been developed to recognise their role.

As well as looking at the future benefits of girls' education, including better health for future generations, CAMFED's work is driven by the reality of what girls are experiencing now. To understand the risks to achieving education for girls, CAMFED looks at the power dynamics. For example, who decides which students will receive a bursary? What does it mean for these students if a development agency removes its support? CAMFED's programmes draw in all of those who have power over girls' lives. This is essential if they are to a robust support system for the girls. Addressing the girls' lack of power is key to the success of their programme.

Although the panel members agreed that young people will have more challenges going forward, they ended with the thought that young people are increasingly shaping politics. The energy and creativity of youth is our greatest hope going forward.

Lady English Lecture 2018
Lady English Lecture 2018 - The Future of Equality: Global Perspectives.
Lady English Lecture 2018 - The Future of Equality: Global Perspectives.
Lady English Lecture 2018 - The Future of Equality: Global Perspectives.