GlobaLinks Dec 2020 Issue

Advocating gender equality in academia

Prof. Mai-har Sham discusses the challenges faced by female academics at CUHK during the pandemic.

Prof. Mai-har Sham (top left) discusses the challenges faced by female academics at CUHK during the pandemic.

There are complex social and economic barriers to women’s advancement in leadership. As part of its efforts to groom women leaders and promote gender equality in higher education, CUHK takes part in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Pilot Mentoring Program which features a network-wide year-long attachment of mentors and mentees with a focus on empowerment, professional growth and development.

Four CUHK female academics are participating in the programme, including Prof. Fanny Cheung, Senior Advisor to the Faculty of Social Science, and Prof. Helene Fung, Chairperson of the Department of Psychology, as mentors; and Prof. Carole Hang Fung Hoyan of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, and Prof. Surabhi Chopra of the Faculty of Law, as mentees. They joined other mentors and mentees from nine APRU member universities for a kick-off meeting in October to discuss issues related to goal setting, career development, opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research, and work-life balance.

The challenges confronting women academics have been amplified by COVID-19, both at home and at work. During a webinar titled ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Higher Education’ organised by APRU in December, Prof. Mai-har Sham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of CUHK, discussed the challenges brought by the pandemic to female academics at CUHK and suggested measures to support them to cope with the challenges. To revisit the webinar, please click here.