International Women's Day 2024

International Women's Day 2024

For International Women's Day 2024 and beyond, let's Inspire Inclusion.

When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

The aim of the IWD 2024 #InspireInclusion campaign is to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.

#IWDabdn | #IWD2024 | #InspireInclusion

2024 Hosts & Speakers

Breaking Boundaries Research Impact Showcase: ‘Making a Difference - Women in Research’

Hear from leading female researchers who are breaking boundaries and making a difference in their own fields and beyond as they discuss their career journeys and challenges and address equality, inclusion and diversity within the research environment and culture.

Professor Eleonora Belfiore

Director - Interdisciplinary Centre for Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity, University of Aberdeen

Dr Varuni Wimalasiri

Lecturer in Management (Organisational Psychology) Business School, University of Aberdeen and Chartered Occupational Psychologist (HCPC)

Professor Ekaterina Pavlovskaia

Head of School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen

Dr Nour Halabi

Interdisciplinary fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen

Connect and Celebrate Inclusion: Breaking Boundaries

Thursday 7 March | 6pm – 9pm | Union Kirk, Aberdeen

Professor Mirela Delibegovic

Professor in Diabetes Physiology and Signalling

Caroline Laurenson

Award-winning Entrepreneur, Founder and Managing Director of TL Tech Smart Home Solutions

Dr Lucky Saraswat

Honorary Senior Lecturer at University of Aberdeen, Consultant Gynaecologist and Minimal access surgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Lead for the Aberdeen Endometriosis Centre

Hossa Skandary-Macpherson

Trustee, Aberdeen Multicultural Centre, Founder of Ertebot, Student of Politics, International Relations and French at the University of Aberdeen

About the host & speakers

Professor Eleonora Belfiore

Eleonora Belfiore joined Aberdeen from Loughborough University, where she was Professor of Communication and Media Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, having previously been Reader in Cultural Policy Studies at Warwick University. She has published extensively on cultural politics and policy, and particularly the place that notions of the ‘social impacts’ of the arts have had in British cultural policy discourses.

She is one of the world leading scholars in cultural value research, and was Co-Director of Studies of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value (2013-5), and co-author of its influential final report, Enriching Britain: Culture, creativity and growth, published in February 2015. For Palgrave, she edits the book series New Directions in Cultural Policy Research, which has published 16 volumes to date, and she is Co-Editor in Chief journal Cultural Trends.

Eleonora is developing new research on the labour conditions of socially engaged arts practice supported by a British Academy/Leverhulme grant. She is also Co-investigator in a project on the creative industries and development in Ghana funded by Danida, the Danish International Development Agency. Eleonora is committed to the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion in Higher Education, and she is one of the founding members of the Women In Academia Support Network, a trans-inclusive and intersectional charity that brings together over 12,000 women and non-binary members from across the world to support one another and pushes for gender parity and more equitable working conditions in Higher Education.

Dr Varuni Wimalasiri

I am a lecturer in Management (Organisational Psychology) and a Chartered Occupational Psychologist (HCPC). I received my Phd from the University of Nottingham (2007) and undertook an EPSRC postdoctorate (Risk and the design engineer) at Loughborough University (2007-2009).  I have worked at Exeter, Sussex and Bournemouth Universities. Between 2015-2017 I worked in the 3rd sector on projects equalities, women and work.

In my research I use principles of Psychology to address the following questions:

  • How does intersectionality, identity and equality effect the women's experience of work and their wellbeing?
  • How might we design diversity programmes to address more obvious but also hidden inequalities at work?
  • How are marginalised communities in Society, impacted further by workplace inequalities?

I have published my work in journals such as Human Relations, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Journal of Management, Personnel Review and Work and Stress, amongst others. I have received funding from the Economics and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Big Lottery (UK) and The Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), among others. My research informs UN's sustainable goal 5 (Equality for Women and Girls). More information about this research can be found by accessing the following link: Equality for Every Woman and Girl - At Work.

I am a member of the strategic EDI board of the British Psychological Society (BPS). And currently the Chair of the Business School EDI committee.

I welcome queries from Phd students who are interested in pursuing doctoral research in my areas of interest. Also queries from those in the third sector working with minority and marginalised communities.

Professor Ekaterina Pavlovskaia

Professor Pavlovskaia is currently the Head of School of Engineering in the University of Aberdeen. She is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE).

Ekaterina graduated with first class degree in Mechanical Engineering from St.Petersburg State Polytechnical University in 1996, obtained a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Physics from the Russian Academy of Science in 1998, and then held an academic position at St Petersburg State University and had a short research spell at Ford Research Laboratory in the US, before joining the University of Aberdeen as a Research Fellow in 2000.

Ekaterina became first female Professor in the School of Engineering in Aberdeen in 2013 and the University’s first female Head of Engineering in 2021. Her expertise is in mathematical modelling and nonlinear dynamics, and the applications she has been working on include novel resonance enhanced drilling technology, rotordynamics, and riser mechanics.  Ekaterina is an author of more than 180 scientific publications including 70+ refereed journal papers and currently Subject Editor for Journal of Sound and Vibration.


Dr Nour Halabi

Nour Halabi is an Interdisciplinary Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. She is the Vice-Chair of the Race Network of the Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) and the Secretary of the Ethnicity and Race Division in the International Communication Association.

Her research examines the interactions between mobility, social movements and global media and discourse. She is author of Radical Hospitality: American Policy, Media, and Immigration (Winner of the MeCCSA Outstanding Achievement Award: Monograph of the Year, 2023) and co-editor of Middle Eastern Television Drama: Politics, Aesthetics, Practices (eds. Salamandra & Halabi, 2023) and Discourses in Action (eds. Krippendorff & Halabi, 2020).

Her research also appears in Middle East Critique (2019), Space and Culture, International Journal of Communication and other academic journals. She received her doctorate from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Masters from The London School of Economics and Bachelors from Paris (IV) Sorbonne.

Professor Mirela Delibegovic

Professor Mirela Delibegovic is an academic and entrepreneurial research leader in biomedical sciences, initiating and developing constructive collaborations leading to successful outcomes, including key publications, significant sustainable funding, and impactful translational discovery research. Experienced line manager, leader and mentor, she pioneers strategic professional development of academic and research staff, and is also elected chair of key University and grant-funding committees.

Caroline Laurenson

TL Tech are an innovative tech start-up championing the use of accessible technology in the home. Accolades include being named a Top 100 Female Entrepreneur to Watch in Scotland 2023, a Top 200 Women in Conversational AI 2023, winner of the Health category at the AccelerateHer Awards 2023 and winner of the STV Growth Fund at the Elevator Awards 2022, which resulted in Caroline and her family featuring in a prime time TV advert for their Kindspace Alexa voice app.

Caroline grew up in a rural village in Argyll and studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University before moving to Aberdeen in 2003 to work as a Graduate Process Engineer. After a successful career in the energy industry, which included becoming one of the youngest people ever to become a Fellow with the Institution of Chemical Engineers, in 2018, she took the brave decision to move into the world of entrepreneurship.

Caroline now works as an independent consultant part-time with the remainder of her time dedicated to running her business. The smart home business has grown in ways she could never have predicted and now is leading industry creating engaging voice experiences for the Amazon Alexa smart speakers, like Kindspace, Phocus Space and My Scottish Community.

Caroline believes passionately in the power of education and knowledge sharing and volunteers as a STEM Ambassador, inspiring others to excel in engineering and technology. When not busy working or volunteering, you’ll find Caroline singing and crafting.

Dr Lucky Saraswat

Dr Lucky Saraswat is a consultant gynaecologist and lead for Aberdeen Endometriosis centre. Her research interest include endometriosis and menstrual problems with a focus on epidemiological studies, working with big data, clinical trials, and health services research.

She is leading several research studies aimed at optimising treatment of endometriosis, reducing diagnostic delay and exploring experiences and needs of women with endometriosis. She is also working with the Scottish Government and Endometriosis UK to minimise variations in care of those with endometriosis across Scotland and implementation of Women's Health Plan.

Hossa Skandary-Macpherson

I have two decades of experience in education and the third sector. I am from Kabul and after growing up in Afghanistan I experienced life as a refugee in my teenage years. I am passionate about human rights, the rights of women and refugees. In 2021 I founded ertebot to support development projects in the global Afghan diaspora. I am studying International Relations, Politics, and French at Aberdeen University to support my ongoing work in these fields.

I have built a strong professional network in the Afghan diaspora using LinkedIn. I have gained valuable media experience and have been interviewed for TV, radio, and webinars (BBC, Voice of America, Labour Friends of Afghanistan, Raisina House India) and have written and interviewed for print and online news outlets (Outlook Afghanistan, Press and  Journal). I have worked extensively with Afghan families in Aberdeen displaced by the events of 2021 to help them settle in Scotland as New Scots. I have volunteered for the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association and have been appointed as a trustee of the Aberdeen Multicultural Centre.

I am a skilled linguist, having lived in eight countries on three continents. I speak seven languages to varying levels of fluency (Dari/Farsi, Pashto, English, French, Russian, Urdu and Dutch).