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Head of Athena SWAN team wins diversity award

students in class

A senior member of UEL staff has won an award celebrating the achievements of older workers.  Dr Mary Linington, who’s 67, came first in People Management magazine’s ‘50 Over 50’ list.  Dr Linington beat an impressive group of nominees, including Professor Stephen Hawking, Paul McMaster, the President of Médecins San Frontières UK, and the oil executive Lord Browne.

The top 50 were chosen from hundreds of public nominations by members of the editorial team at People Management, the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Speaking after her win, Dr Linington said she had never considered her age to be a bar to success. “I was fairly successful early on in my life, so it wasn’t a barrier at that end of my career and it hasn’t been at this end.  When I was interviewed for my job at UEL I actually asked about my age, and they said, ‘If you can do the job then it’s not a problem for us.’” 

Mary Linington gained her PhD in theoretical chemistry in 1972, and was one of only two per cent of  chemistry PhDs at that time who were female. Dr Linington taught mathematics and science, specialising in chemistry, at grammar and comprehensive schools.  She went on to become a school inspector, before joining UEL as a lecturer at the Cass School of Education and Communities. 

She is now leading UEL’s application for an Athena SWAN award, which recognises universities’ commitment to gender equality in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics.

Asked about the advice she would give older workers, Dr Linington said a positive attitude was essential, “I’m at a stage in my life where I actually feel more confident.  I know that I’ve got a lot of skills and experience which can be shared and can help other people, and working certainly keeps me agile, fit and focused. So if you can do it and you want to do it, have a go.”

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.