We are delighted to have been elected Co-Chairs for the FWSA UK and Ireland. Thank you to all of those who organised the election, it was a new experience for the FWSA and the use of online voting allowed a greater number of people to vote than in previous elections. Thanks also to Nadine Muller for her hard work in promoting the FWSA and the election. I am sure we all appreciate those who took the time to vote.


As this is our first post as co-chairs, we would like to begin by briefly introducing ourselves.  Ayona is a Senior Lecturer in Citizenship and Belonging at the University of Leeds whose research draws heavily upon feminist geography, urban and gender studies in examining urban transformations in the global south; encounters with law in everyday life; translocal spaces; and the politics of sustainable development across the global north and south. Ayona’s monograph ‘The Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement’ was published in 2012 and was nominated to be honoured in a book event in the 2013 Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Los Angeles. In addition to publishing in a range of peer review journals, Ayona sits on a number of editorial boards of peer reviewed journals such as Gender, Place and Culture, ACME: An e-journal for critical geographies, and Open House International.  She also regularly reviews grant applications to the ESRC, Leverhulme and JRF as well as to research councils in Austria, Netherlands and Finland. She was also the invited external judge for the 2012-2013 FWSA Student Essay Competition.


Kate has served on the FWSA executive since 2010 as Book Prize co-ordinator. She is a Lecturer in Management at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, researching workplace as the site of the reproduction of gender and associated inequalities. She is engaged in gender equality schemes within her institution and is active in the University and Colleges Union as her branch’s equality officer, campaigning for equality across the spectrum. Kate’s current research interests include gender and academic careers, gender in male dominated occupations and the experiences of feminist academics, with a focus on intersectional analyses. In 2010 Kate established Feminist Academics International, an online network for feminist academics from any discipline. In 2012 along with Dr Rebecca Finkel Kate set up Scottish Feminist Academics which organises networking events in Scotland. Kate sits on the editorial board of Sociological Research Online and in July 2013 will be launching a new open access journal: International Perspectives on Equality and Diversity. Kate also has a particular interest in supporting the careers of PhD students and academics at all career stages.  You can learn more about us on our webpages: http://hw.academia.edu/KateSang and http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/a.datta


Our vision for the FWSA

As Co-Chairs, we hope to make a positive contribution to the aims and goals of the FWSA in extending its work in feminist scholarship and learning, through expansion of FWSA activities internationally, engaging in knowledge transfer and ensuring the financial sustainability of the association


Firstly, we will work to expend the international reach of the FWSA through our links in Turkey, India, Australia and New Zealand. In particular, we have connections with feminist NGOs and women’s organisations in Delhi and Mumbai who could become partner organisations to extend FWSA work to the global south. In doing so we will jointly host research and learning activities such as conferences, workshops and events in these regions which would further increase the global breadth and reach of the FWSA. We would welcome the opportunity to work with members to expand the global reach of the FWSA.


Secondly, we will work to secure the financial sustainability of the FWSA. We will actively pursue possibilities of research and consultancy to generate funding and esteem for its work and make it self-funding in the long run. The FWSA has a highly qualified and research active executive committee and membership. These diverse and multidisciplinary strengths can be used to potentially attract research funding to the organisation.


We would develop existing efforts to expand the role of the FWSA to build upon links with policy makers and lobbying groups both in the UK and internationally. This will allow us to transfer academic knowledge to practitioners as well as influencing policy. We would also work with the Executive and members to explore establishing an open access journal for the FWSA to enable free global transfer of academic knowledge.


Finally, we aim to promote a more intense debate on current affairs relevant to feminist research and learning through the FWSA. This includes both UK and global events such as recent rape attacks in Delhi on which Ayona has commented on BBC radio, as well student learning in the UK. We will work closely with the FWSA online team to disseminate the work of the FWSA through social media. Overall we look forward to an exciting period of co-chairing one of the most dynamic associations on feminist research in the UK.


We are excited about continuing our work with the FWSA and are keen to work with members to raise the profile of the association and to provide even greater member benefits. Please do get in touch with either of us to share your ideas on the future of the FWSA UK and Ireland.


Kate and Ayona