Professors at UK’s Teesside University’s Centre for Culture and Diversity have set out to promote original new research on South Asian women’s writing. Supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund and working with the International Islamic University, they curated a three-day workshop for 25 women early career researchers (ECRs) from across Pakistan with the aim of promoting gender equality in writing and research.

Dr Madeline Clements and Dr Rachel Carroll aim to help advance the careers of next generation women scholars. The project is Supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund . The workshops combined specialist talks, practical workshops, one-to-one mentoring and networking, with guest speakers including the highly acclaimed Pakistani writer and editor Muneeza Shamsie. Dr Madeline Clements said: “Women writers, both past and present, have played a vital role in raising awareness of gender inequality, while women researchers have been at the forefront of new thinking in this area, inspiring social and cultural change.

“In Pakistan, ECRs have made real strides in amplifying the voices of South Asian women writers, yet they continue to face socioeconomic barriers to developing their own research.”The workshop was developed following a nationwide survey of researchers in Pakistan, ensuring it was targeted to the needs of women early career researchers in the region.

“Not only this, but many of the 25 ECRs are practising teachers, and have been equipped with knowledge, skills and confidence to assist them in inspiring the next generation of women writers and researchers in Pakistan.”Beyond the workshop, participants also had a chance to undertake 12-week supervised and funded research projects on topics of their own choosing. These include Women and Leadership in Pakistan and Women Editors in Independent Journals and Magazines in Pakistan.

Munazza Yaqoob, project partner (IIUI), said: “Thanks to the contribution of Dr Rachel Carroll and Dr Madeline Clements we have trained 25 women ECRs from different parts of Pakistan. “They have established a fully equipped smart classroom exclusively for young women in the Department of English, Female Campus, IIUI. “This is our humble attempt to bridge the digital gender gap and support young women in academia to step into the future equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge” She added. (Content courtesy: The Northern Echo).