Skip to main content

Inclusive Leadership and the 100 Black Women Professors NOW programme


LIDA affiliates Dr Jon Ward and Dr Marlous Hall recently took part in a multi-institutional Inclusive Leadership Workshop at the University of Manchester as part of their roles in the 100 Black Women Professors NOW Programme – aiming to increase the number of Black women in the academic pipeline.

Of around 24,000 professors in the UK, only 41 are Black women. At the University of Leeds we still have only one Black professor who is a woman. The 100 Black Women Professors NOW Programme, ran by the Women's Higher Education Network, supports Black women in academia to navigate and manage their careers, as well as challenging institutions to recognise the need to address fundamental societal inequities.

The University of Leeds is one of 6 universities in the UK to support a cohort of academics through the programme. The Inclusive Leadership Workshop was held at the University of Manchester and had around 50 participants from Leeds, Manchester, London, East Anglia, Exeter and the Open University.

The participants at the workshop formed a vibrant and energetic group, with a clear common passion to support equity, diversity and inclusivity. Everyone engaged enthusiastically in discussion, sharing their experiences and best practice, providing feedback and listening openly to new perspectives. The workshop was an excellent forum to learn about practices in other institutions as well as building supportive relationships with colleagues across campus in Leeds.

Alongside our commitment to support the individual female academics supported through the current cohort of the programme – we are also motivated as academic leaders to learn more about the challenges and faced by Black women in academia and take collective positive action for systemic change. Together we have discussed our roles in shining a light on the issues of underrepresentation, becoming an ally through educating ourselves and others, advocating and championing Black women in academia, and challenging harmful behaviours such as microaggressions.

Dr Marlous Hall, Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Founding Co-Director of LIDA Health said, “The event was very emotive. Having already heard the personal perspectives and first hand stories from Black women in academia at a Leeds kick-off event for the programme earlier in the year – coming together with multiple institutions to share our thoughts on how to be a successful inclusive leader has given me a renewed energy as part of a bigger collective effort, and provided a healthy dose of institutional peer pressure too! At a personal level – it has spurred me on to be even more intentional in my inclusive leadership style and champion and advocate for Black women in academia at every opportunity.”

If you would like to hear more about the University of Leeds involvement in the programme please reach out via or visit the 100 Black Women Professors NOW website

To hear more about the impact of the pioneering 100 Black women professors NOW programme – listen to Antony Ryland from the Tap’d Talks HR podcast in conversation with WHEN’s Head of Engagement, Kate Faxen, discussing the programme.