Before COVID-19 our events took place every two months at a London-based university. Meetings would normally run on Friday afternoons with a 15.00 start, followed by dinner to allow for more informal interaction.

Every meeting includes a mix of presentations, focusing on specifc research topics, research methods, career perspectives, publishing and research impact. We also regularly invite female scholars from other countries to broaden the network.

Since COVID-19 all meetings are run online and attended by CYGNA members from all over the world.

If you are interested in being on the mailing list and/or attending our events please contact Anne-Wil Harzing ( Feel free to share this information to anyone who might be interested. We also maintain a readings and inspirations section for female academics and have a Twitter hashtag #cygna_london. A quick overview of past presentations can be found here. For a full description of our network see: Celebrating CYGNA: Supporting women in academia.

Organizing Committee

Argyro Avgoustaki (, ESCP Europe
Anne-Wil Harzing (, Middlesex University
Linn Eleanor Zhang (, Loughborough University London
Shasha Zhao (, University of Surrey

Meetings for the 2020-2021 academic year

Please note: all times are London time, i.e. Winter time GMT+0, Summer time GMT+1.

To support our members through difficult COVID-19 times, we are running monthly online meetings. We will alternate between "formal" meetings with multiple substantive presentations and informal meetings with very short presentations and small break-out groups to get to know other CYGNA members.

Meeting 33: 25 September 2020, 10.50-13.30: Female leadership before and after COVID-19

Organizer: Linn Eleanor Zhang, Loughborough University London

  • Women can have it all: how to balance research, leadership and family before and after Covid-19, Kristiina Mäkelä, Provost, Aalto University, Finland
    • Commentary, Jo Tacchi, Loughborough University, Associate Dean for Research
    • Q&A with all participants
  • Leadership and resilience during and after Covid-19,  Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hull, UK  
    • Commentary, Jenny Fry, Loughborough University, Associate Dean for Teaching
    • Q&A with all participants

Meeting 34: 22 October 2020, 10.30-12.00: How do I keep my job (in academia) in uncertain times?

Organizer: Anne-Wil Harzing, Middlesex University; Chair/Facilitator: Axele Giroud, University of Manchester

  • Shea Fan, RMIT University, Australia: Global Pandemic and its impact on women working in Australia’s Higher Education sector

  • Mariana Dodourova, Middlesex University, UK: A brief no-nonsense overview of the current UK HE environment
  • Marian Jones, Sheffield University, UK: Time to leave, or time to change? A gendered perspective on academic work during a crisis

Meeting 35: 26 November 2020, 9.00-11.00: The wonderful world of book publishing

Organizer: Marian Mahat, University of Melbourne

Meeting 36: 18 December 2020, 14.30-16.30: Everything you always wanted to know about the REF & CYGNA Christmas celebration

Organizer & presenter: Anne-Wil Harzing, Middlesex University

In the first part of this meeting you will have a chance to ask any questions you have always wanted to ask about the REF. Although the REF is specific to the UK, the general issue of national research evaluations and how they might impact on academic careers is relevant to all.

In the second part of the meeting, we will reflect on both the challenges and joys of 2020 and discuss our hopes for the future. This will be a highly interactive session with multiple break-out rooms, so CYGNA members can get to know each other better. We'll also facilitate conversations on how we can each help each other in practical ways. We hope everyone will leave invigorated and go into their Christmas break in a positive state of mind.

Meeting 37: 22 January 2021, 14.00-16.00: GLOMO project

  • Organizer: Cordula Barzantny
  • Speakers: Four PhD students in the project

Meeting 38: 26 February 2021, 9.00-10.30: Resistance to equality in academia and how to overcome it

Organizer & presenter: Susanne Täuber

Susanne will be presenting the results of a survey study she has conducted on this topic. She will also discuss the tension between formal equality initiatives and covert inequality regimes, as well as measures regarding how to align these two. Finally, we will share experiences on how to engage those benefiting from the existing inequality regimes to (a) acknowledge the inequality and (b) get on board as allies for equality.

Meeting 39: 18 March 2021, 9.00-11.00: Climbing up the academic career ladder: structural constraints and female academics’ personal strategies

Organizer: Huong Nguyen, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Speaker: Sharon Bell, Dean, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Honorary Professor, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Meeting 40: 29 April 2021, 10.00-11.30: Performing masculinity and femininity on Zoom: the gendered aspects of online working

Organizer & presenter: Martyna Śliwa

Watch a brief video on CYGNA at my YouTube channel

Previous meetings

Pictures and presentations from all previous meetings are available: