International Women’s Day: Meet the famous women who graduated from Lancs Uni

Move over Andy Serkis, it’s time for the women from Lancs Uni to have some recognition

When you went to the Lancs Uni’s open day, one of the many things you probably will have been told is that Andy Serkis and James May went to Lancaster. But it always feels as if there is never a mention of any famous women that went to Lancaster University. This just doesn’t seem right.

Of course these men deserve to be celebrated as they have contributed to their respective fields, but it’s a bit disappointing to not hear about the equally important women from Lancs Uni who are taking great steps for women, and people, as a whole.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, we thought it was about time we changed that. Let’s take a look at some amazing, revolutionary women that may have walked the same corridors, talked to the same people, and even possibly lived in the same halls as you.

Maria Damanaki – Gender Issues

Maria Damanaki is a Greek politician, having pivotal roles within the Hellenic Parliament, within parties such as the Communist Party, and later with Synaspismos whom she became President of in 1991. This was ground-breaking as she became Greece’s first female party president, as well as earlier becoming the first woman elected to be the Vice President of Parliament in 1986.

As a student, she is well-known to be the voice of the famous “This is the Polytechnic” radio broadcast accompanying the Athens Polytechnic Uprising, a struggle to end the dictatorial regime, by calling out for civilian support; because of this, she was arrested and tortured. She was also elected as the Greek representative in the European Commission in 2009, and had a huge hand within helping get fish populations back to healthier levels.

Kath Durrant – 1988, History, Lonsdale

Kath Durrant is famous for being the first woman on the Rolls Royce executive leadership team, under the role of Group HR Director.

She still has close links with Lancaster, being an Advisory Board Member at the Management School at Lancs from 2013-2017. She is also noticeable for working for six years at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as Vice President of HR for Research and Development.

Nicky Goulder – 1991, Management Sciences and Marketing, Cartmel

Nicky Goulder co-founded the UK charity Create, which aims to empower marginalized communities, helping them find opportunities within the arts that otherwise they might not have been able to due to prejudices.

Nicky volunteered as a Childline Counsellor for five years, after which she worked for the Samaritans. She has won numerous awards, including a Charity Times Rising CEO Star Highly Commended Award in 2014, as well as a SocialCEO award in 2015.

Jane Lingham – 1995-1998, Advertising and Marketing, Pendle

Jane Lingham was the Director of Brand, Media, and Planning for the BBC, and is currently the Director for the BBC Brand. She has over 13 years of experience within the BBC, holding numerous roles within it.

Ursula Martinez – French and Theatre

Ursula Martinez is a British theatre maker, performer, and director. She has starred in three shows which have won Olivier awards, namely C’Est Duckie, La Clique, and La Soiree. She started out as a cabaret performer in London, including performing at the well-known queer performance club Duckie.

Ranvir Singh – 1998, English and Philosophy, Pendle

Most recently known for getting to the semi-finals in Strictly 2020, Ranvir Singh is a journalist and TV presenter.

She is the Political Editor and presenter for Good Morning Britain. Ranvir has gained many awards within her career, such as “Best On Screen Talent” at the Royal Television Society’s North West Awards in 2010, as well as a Lancaster University Alumni Award in 2014.

Sarah Waters – 1988, MA English Literature

Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist, known for famous works such as Tipping the Velvet, and Fingersmith.

She is best known for setting her novels in Victorian society, and is widely praised for featuring lesbian protagonists within her works. She was given an OBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours for her outstanding services to literature.

Did you know that any of these incredibly smart and courageous women went to Lancaster? Well now you know. So, whenever anyone mentions that James May went to Lancaster, you can turn around and list off all the names of these women to prove that it’s not just men who have achieved greatness after graduating from Lancaster University.

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