On the side of my filing cabinet in my home office I have a poster with a quote from the Dalia Lama, which says, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow.   Today is the right day to love, believe and mostly live.”

I always find this quote of great comfort on so many levels, especially during this second lock down, when there are days when frankly it feels that I just cannot seem to get my head in gear.  Where my attention span has well and truly wandered, and my daily step count is mainly towards the biscuit tin.  But then I read this quote and remind myself to take perspective of where we are.  This second lockdown has been much harder for everyone, and some days, it’s just not going to go as planned.  However, it also reminds us not to procrastinate – in a very gentle Dalia Lama kind of way. Which I like.

It also reminds me to reflect on those wider human qualities that we can sometimes lose sight of when working towards a deadline.  The importance of family, of love and to keep the faith with doing the right things – not just the easy things – and of course to take a little time out for some self-care.

Through lockdown I don’t think there will be anyone who will say they’ve not had a few wobbly moments.  But what we’ve also had is amazing examples of people adapting to new ways of working and living.   Of extraordinary acts of kinds and community and connection to parts of our lives that were all too often neglected.   We’ve also seen huge amounts of collaboration in bring forward a vaccine that unlocks us all from the time capsule of COVID-19.  This global collaboration particularly by the scientific community, has provided a shining example of what can be achieved – but of course the job is only part done until it can be successfully rolled out across the globe.

March saw us celebrating International Women’s Day and it was great to see so many activities and events taking place.  Our Student Festival and our very special guest speaker Sarah Murray was especially memorable for the team at Equate.  Our guest speaker not only lifted our eyes to the stars but at a personal and raw human level gently reminded us of all the ways women continue to overcome great obstacles, breaking down barriers – even in space.  If you haven’t yet listened to Sarah, it’s a treat to do so.

International Women’s Day also saw various outpourings and assessments of the impact of COVID-19 on women.   In my previous blogs I have highlighted where the trends are going, there is no argument about the issues.  The starkness of the emerging realities was summed up for me in the recent PwC survey.  They highlight that their 9 year Women in Work Index that reports on progress towards gender party in the workplace is expected to see the trend reversed. Even more concerning is that the damage could be lasting or even permanent. (https://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/WIWI/women-in-work-2021-executive-summary.pdf)

We are awash with data.  Collecting and collecting and collecting data.  The big question is what are we doing with it?  What are we using all this data for when it comes to developing and informing strategy, informing policy, prioritising investment, and reflecting the outcomes we say as a society we want to achieve?

Of course this is not a new question.  When it comes to data about women in STEM the picture is largely unchanged in terms of UCAS data, apprenticeships, labour market segregation, leadership roles and board room representation.  We don’t need any more data, we just need to act on it.

Lily Tomlin has a great quote, she said “Somebody should do something about that.” Then she realised I am somebody.