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Somerville all-women panel highlights plight of female refugees

Somerville College hosted an all-women panel on World Refugee Day this week to discuss the unique issues faced by female refugees living in UK.

The all-women panel discussed issues relating to legal rights, social prejudice, and domestic and sexual violence. It is part of a series of panels aiming to give women a greater platform.

The “Women’s Worlds at a Crossroads” discussion was chaired by Somerville’s Principal Baroness Jan Royall.

Speakers included Catherine Briddick, of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, as well as Oxford councillor Shaista Aziz.

St. John’s Orchestra performed music at the event, as part of their Displaced Voices Project.

This is the second all-female panel that Somerville has planned to host this term. A panel entitled “Democracy Delivers: Women in Politics” was scheduled for the 25th May to celebrate the centenary of female suffrage and encourage more women to enter politics.

The panel was set to include both Oxford East Labour MP, Anneliese Dodds, and the Liberal Democrat Layla Moran MP, who represents Oxford West and Abingdon. Unforeseen circumstances led to cancellation of the event.

Founded as Somerville Hall in 1879, previous Principal Alice Prochaska has spoken of the college’s ethos to “include the excluded”.

Somerville remains the only Oxford college to have had only female Principals, with this week’s panel marking the end of Royall’s first year as Principal.

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