Voices from the Early Days – Alice Brown on activism and pedagogy in the academy

Alice Brown reflects on connecting activism with pedagogy based on the 50/50 campaign and the Gender Audit.

Alice Brown: From an academic point of view, we started to draw up something called the Gender Audit. We were trying to show and demonstrate that women were very underrepresented in all spheres of life, whether it be politics, business, in the law, and medicine. A number of us put that together voluntarily before the Scottish Government did eventually put some financial backing to it. It’s something we tried to produce to demonstrate the position of women and the extent it would need, a concerted effort in different spheres, in order to make women’s participation and representation much more equal… It was an interesting time for academics who were working with other people. The campaign operated at different levels and in different ways. But it was exciting for students because it was clearly a way in which students could see how a lot of the theory about elections could be applied in practice. Some of the students obviously got involved in that…

Marta Kowalewska: Did any of your students get involved in it after?

AB: Yes, they did. And of course some of them went on to play very active roles themselves in that, or indeed in the media and in academia. I think as someone teaching at university, I always find it hugely rewarding to see what your students do after the lectures. It was a good time, a very exciting time in Scottish Politics.