Exeter and King Danylo collaborate on Gender Equality

Professor Iryna Prypkhan, Head of King Danylo Law School, (centre) recently visited Exeter to discuss collaborations in the field on gender equality.

The University of Exeter has welcomed Professor Iryna Prypkhan, Head of the Law School at King Danylo University in Ukraine, to focus on collaborations in the field on gender equality between the institutions.

Last year, Exeter and King Danylo became ‘twinned’ universities through a national programme to support higher education in the Ukraine. Developed by Universities UK and the Cormack Consultancy Group, the twinning initiative pairs UK and Ukrainian universities together, helping to support the Ukrainian higher education system and develop exciting academic collaborations.

In support of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union, much work is being undertaken in the country to develop an enhanced focus on gender equality. King Danylo University is leading the way in the Ukraine, recently becoming the first university in the region that has successfully developed and implemented a “Gender Equality Plan” for the institution.

The recent visit to Exeter saw a number of collaborative sessions arranged to discuss different elements of gender equality in Higher Education; Prof Prypkhan attended all in person and was joined virtually by a number of King Danylo colleagues for different thematic sessions. Prof Frances Tammer, Practice Professor of Strategy and Security at Exeter, hosted a session looking at gender equality in the workplace drawing on examples from her creation of a Gender Equality Group in the Ministry of Defence, where she used to work, and the Network at Exeter known as WISEnet – Women: Inspiring, Supporting, Encouraging.

Further sessions were delivered by Rae Preston, Exeter Athena Swan Charter Manager, exploring the UK Athena Swan framework, and Emily Davies (Head of Student Entrepreneurship), looking at Exeter’s Student Start-Up Programme and how the programme seeks to develop young female entrepreneurs.

Broader discussions about EDI initiatives at the University of Exeter, such as 100 Black Women Professors Nowgender safety initiatives, and allyship initiatives were also facilitated by Sandip Samra (Senior EDI Advisor) and Lewis Nurton (Learning and Development Manager) from Exeter’s EDI team. King Danylo shared their experiences and best practice in developing a university gender equality programme in the Ukraine, ensuring a valuable exchange of views.

During the visit, discussions between Exeter and King Danylo also focused on next steps for the partnership. In addition to establishing plans for a series of virtual guest lectures on gender equality, Exeter have pledged a scholarship to allow a female entrepreneurial student from King Danylo to join the Exeter Technology Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Summer 2024, an intensive interdisciplinary technology Bootcamp led by Exeter’s Department of Engineering. Allowing students to learn from international entrepreneurs and business leaders to launch a new start-up. A number of other joint research and education opportunities are under discussion.

Prof Richard Follett (Vice-President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement) and Professor Krasimira Tsaneva (Vice President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Impact) hosted the visit.

Professor Follett said: “we are delighted to host Prof Prypkhan in person and many other King Danylo colleagues virtually for two productive days of discussion of gender equality.

“King Danylo have been pioneering a new approach to gender equality in the Ukrainian higher education sector, so it has been rewarding and informative to learn from each other during the visit.

“This is one of a number of areas where we look forwards to collaborating with King Danylo and supporting our friends in Ukraine during the ongoing conflict.”