Professor Shirley Congdon becomes the first woman to take charge at Yorkshire Universities

A leading regional higher education organisation has announced the appointment of its first chairwoman as it pushes for increased diversity and equality across the sector.

Pictured Professor Shirley Congdon. Photo credit: Tony Johnson/ JPIMediaResell

Professor Shirley Congdon, the Vice Chancellor for the University of Bradford, has been appointed as the new chair for Yorkshire Universities.

She will take over from Professor Sir Chris Husbands, the Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, whose term of office ends on July 31.

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Professor Shirley Congdon was alsothe first female to become the vice-chancellorat the University of Bradford, since the institute was founded in 1966.Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMediaResell

Prof Congdon has been a vocal advocate for tackling the gender divide in higher education. The Yorkshire Post reported this week that she had warned that a lack of women in leadership roles in universities is detrimental to the sector. She was the first female to become the vice-chancellor at the University of Bradford, since the institute was founded in 1966.

Prof Congdon, 59, said: "Universities in the region have stepped up magnificently in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She was the first female to become the vice-chancellor at the University of Bradford, since the institute was founded in 1966.

Prof Congdon, 59, said: "Universities in the region have stepped up magnificently in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pictured, Dr Peter OBrien the executive director of Yorkshire Universities. Photo credit: other

"They will be vital in the recovery and rebuilding effort through research and innovation, knowledge exchange, skills and the nurturing of talent, and in their role as civic anchor institutions in the towns and cities of Yorkshire."

She added: "Our focus, as a partnership, on tackling inequalities and creating new opportunities for people, businesses and communities in the region to prosper and fulfil their potential is central to the Government’s levelling up agenda."

Prof Congdon is also playing a major role in helping universities unlock economic potential after being appointed to the Leeds City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

Dr Peter O’Brien, the executive director of the Yorkshire Universities charity, which represents 12 institutes across the region, said: "Our universities in Yorkshire are real assets and it is by working collaboratively, and with national and local partners, that we can achieve so much more for the region."

He added: "I would like to thank Sir Chris for his many contributions as the chairman of the Yorkshire Universities board at a time of significant change and challenge."

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