About Cygna

Information about the Cygna network

The name CYGNA comes from the female version of the Greek word for SWAN (Supporting Women in Academia Network). Our main objective is to promote interaction among female academics and provide a forum for learning, support, and networking. The network was founded in June 2014 as a combined initiative of Argyro Avgoustaki, Ling Eleanor Zhang, and Anne-Wil Harzing, later joined by Shasha Zhao. Our first official meeting took place in October 2014 at ESCP Europe.

For more details on our meetings see here. A quick overview of past presentations can be found here. We maintain a readings and inspirations section for female academics, a LinkedIn group, and hashtags #cygna_london and #cygnawomen. For a full description of our network see: Celebrating CYGNA: Supporting women in academia.

If you are interested in being on the mailing list and/or attending our events please contact Anne-Wil Harzing (anne@harzing.com). Feel free to share this information to anyone who might be interested.

Why our name?

Our name and logo were chosen through a collaborative process involving all members, who have now started to call themselves swans. The name CYGNA appealed to members for its Greek origins and its slight mysteriousness. The connotations and imagery elicited by the word swan were also seen as clear positives:

  • the traditional symbol of beauty and grace in ancient Greece, which, combined with the Latin name, provides us with strong academic roots
  • serene and calm on the outside, but madly paddling under the water, just like most academics these days
  • peaceful, faithful, and almost entirely herbivorous, but assertive when defending things that matter, such as gender equality and our research
  • at home in diverse environments (water, earth, air), reflecting the national and cultural diversity of our network, which counts more than 20 nationalities

Watch a brief video on CYGNA at my YouTube channel