Institute of Astronomy

International Women’s Day 2022

8 March 2022

Join us for the global day of celebration as we honour the scientific contributions made by women at the Institute of Astronomy. International Women’s Day 2022 (IWD22) is a half day event with keynote address by Professor Belinda Wilkes, a Careers Panel, an Observatory Tour and an IWD lunch.

IWD22 also marks the start of preparations for the IoA 50th Anniversary Festival in 2023. Towards this, we are planning a three-day event for International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD23) for which, during 2022, we will be creating a network of people and resources in which we invite you to get involved.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Please register below to attend virtually or in-person (limited availability).

IWD22 Programme

The full programme includes Welcome Tea & Coffee and IWD Lunch both in the Marquees next to the Hoyle Building.

The lunch break will also offer the opportunity to go on a tour of the Observatory, and to get involved in Outreach Legacy and IWD network activities.

Time Content Time Location
11:30 - 12:00 Welcome Tea & Coffee# 30 mins Marquee+
12:00 - 12:15 Introduction 15 mins HLT*
12:15 - 13:15 Keynote Speaker 60 mins HLT
13.20 - 13.25 Group Photo 5 mins Hoyle Lawn
13:30 - 15:30 IWD Lunch 120 mins Marquee
14.30 - 15.00 Observatory Tour 30 mins Observatory
  Outreach Legacy    
15:30 - 16:30 Careers Panel 60 mins HLT
16:30 - 16:45 Looking forward to IWD23 15 mins HLT


IWD22 Registration and IWD Network Sign-up

IWD22 will be subject to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. We are currently limited to 60 in-person participants, but welcome online participants. If the restrictions increase we will pivot to a fully online event.

Please register for IWD22 and the IWD network here: Registration Form

In the registration form, please sign up for IWD22 with your preference of either in-person or online attendance, and also indicate if you are interested to hear about IWD23 activities as part of the IWD network. Please see the items below for more information on all of these.

You will receive a email summarising your registration form submission. This is information-only.

In-person attendance: For those who request to attend in-person, a separate confirmation email with in-person attendance details will be sent by the end of February.

Virtual attendance: Registration to attend virtually will remain open until the 7th March. Reminder emails with the meeting link will be sent out in early March.


IWD Contact Email

Please email any enquiries to:


IWD Team

IWD22 SOC: Clare Worley, Giorgia Busso, Julia Sisk Reynes, Carolin Crawford, Amanda Smith, Mark Hurn, Sophie Koudmani, Aoife Simpson, Prakriti PalChoudhury, Irene Abril Cabezas, Jessica Rigley, Laura Rogers, Annabelle Richard-Laferriere, Vanessa López-Barquero, Sue Tilney, Matt Bothwell, Angela Macharia

IWD22 LOC: Susan Hatley, Angela Macharia, Mandy Cockrill, Monica Gamboa


More about IWD22 and Beyond


Keynote Speaker: Prof Belinda Wilkes

We are pleased to welcome Professor Belinda Wilkes as our keynote speaker for IWD22.

Prof. Belinda Wilkes is a Senior Astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. She served as Director of the X-ray Center at SAO, which operates the Chandra X-ray Observatory on contract with NASA, from 2014-2020. Dr. Wilkes received her BSc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 1978 and her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge, England, in 1982. She spent two years at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory as a NATO postdoctoral fellow, and moved to CfA's High Energy Astrophysics Division in 1984. She is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Cambridge Philosophical Society, and a member of the International Astronomical Union and the European Astronomical Society. She has received numerous Smithsonian Institution awards including the Exceptional Accomplishment Awards and NASA Group Achievement Awards, and a NASA MSFC Director's Commendation. In 2018 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge University, England. Her research involves X-ray and multi-wavelength studies of active galaxies. She is author or co-author of over 460 publications, including refereed science papers (168 papers, >12,000 citations and H-index 59), book chapters, papers in conference proceedings, abstracts, white papers, author or editor of several books, and of science articles in the public media. She is currently a Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellow at the School of Physics, University of Bristol, UK.


Careers Panel

The Careers Panel will take place as a Q&A session with experienced women astronomers in the Hoyle Lecture Theatre and over Zoom. The aim of this Careers Panel is to create a platform to discuss challenges that women in astronomy face, to share advice and think about future initiatives. At the beginning of the session, each speaker will shortly introduce themselves (~1-2 mins). The interactive Q&A session will follow. The hope is to address the ‘leaky pipeline’ in Astronomy by sharing experiences and by increasing the visibility of role models.

Most panelists are currently associated with the IoA/Kavli/DAMPT/Battcock, and are at different career stages (from post-doc to professor of astrophysics and cosmology) within their respective fields of interest (ranging from, e.g., planetary sciences to cosmology). The panelists will be: Alexandra Amon, Francesca De Angeli, Amy Bonsor, Amelia Drew, Danielle Fenech, Anastasia Fialkov, Debora Sijacki, and Belinda Wilkes. All attendees will be able to submit questions in advance via a Google form that will be sent via email and also have the opportunity to ask questions on the day (in-person and via Zoom).


Women of the Cambridge Observatory and Institute of Astronomy: A guided tour celebrating International Women's Day 2022

The tour will begin outside the original Cambridge Observatory building of 1823 and will last about 30 minutes. The tour will cover women associated with the Cambridge Observatory and Institute of Astronomy over a two hundred year period. Some famous names are included, but others, whose contributions are largely forgotten will also be mentioned. As a Covid precaution the tour will be largely outdoors (but with the opportunity to go in telescope domes and buildings if wanted). Your guide is Institute librarian Mark Hurn who has taken a strong interest in the history of the site.


Outreach Legacy

During the meeting we intend to record short interviews with our alumnae to create an outreach legacy - both to inform the general public about the kind of science undertaken at the IoA, as well as to encourage and inspire younger students and researchers about their future. For those of you who cannot attend in person, we would be interested in collecting this information by email and publishing it as part of our slide series.

The interview will involve questions about your career, your science, and advice to someone younger. We have recorded an example interview to give you an idea of the questions. 

For more examples, see the slides created by women currently at the IoA for our International Women's Day 2021 Celebration here, and the posters featuring some of our alumnae for our 2019 celebration here.

Both the interviews and the webpages will then be highlighted throughout the 2022/23 season of 50th anniversary celebrations through social media. If you are interested in participating, please contact Matt Bothwell (


Cambridge Astronomy International Women's Day Network

There is a rich history of women contributing to the science and workings of the astronomy institutes at Cambridge. To that end we are building a network about Cambridge astronomy women for further events and outreach activities. These will be designed to celebrate the past and current work and achievements of women in astronomy, science and beyond. This is particularly for the 3 day event we are planning for IWD23 (see below).

The information collection as part of the IWD activities will abide by the data protection standards as outlined in this section below..


International Women's Day 2023 and the IoA 50th Anniversary Celebration

The 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Astronomy (IoA) will be celebrated in 2023 in a series of events, one of which will be a three-day meeting to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD23). The IWD23 meeting will include talks and panel discussions, as well as social and cultural activities. Two themes have been identified:

  1. The Science of the Women of the IoA
  2. The Career Diversity of the Women of the IoA 

These two themes capture the contribution of women to the scientific history of the IoA and their ongoing achievements, but also highlight the range of careers into which the women who studied and worked at the IoA have ventured.


Code of Conduct

Participants of IWD22 will be asked to read and agree to adhere to the IoA code of conduct. You are welcome to read it in advance at this link:


Data Protection Statement

International Women’s Day 2022 & 2023 at the Institute of Astronomy - Privacy Statement

The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) is committed to ensuring the security of the personal information that it holds. The privacy of individuals and their personal information is taken very seriously. Here we outline how your data will be used by organisers of the International Women’s Day 2022 (IWD22) and International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD23) events:

  • Your registration will be used for the purposes of planning and processing arrangements for the IWD22 event, only. The details you provide us with will be treated in confidence, and will not be published in any form (e.g., web, print, audio or visual).
  • Some IWD22 events will be recorded for publicity and archive purposes. You have the right to opt out of any such recording. 
  • The IoA is accountable for the data it holds. Therefore, any information you provide will be retained for 6 months after the IWD23 event. After which, it will be removed, by secure means, from all relevant databases and systems. 
  • With permission by you, your contact details will be stored, securely, to communicate upcoming projects (e.g. IWD23) that may be of special interest. 
  • Your data will not be shared with a third party.

Full details of the University of Cambridge General Data Protection Act:

Page last updated: 28 February 2022 at 11:16