Professors Without Borders Think Tank

Women In Higher Education Initiative

Professors Without Borders (Prowibo) co-founder Tessy de Nassau launched the Women in Higher Education Initiative at Prowibo’s Women’s Breakfast in September 2018. This initiative is now managed by the Think Tank Director.

The objectives of the Women In Higher Education Initiatives are:

  • establishing new partnerships with women universities in developing countries
  • maintaining a commitment to promoting educational opportunities exclusively for women
  • improving the recruitment of women in institutions of higher education
  • developing strategies to improve the retention of women pursuing degrees in Higher education

Women in Higher Education Lecture Series

6 November 2023 – Public Lecture

The Prowibo Think Tank cordially invites you to its 1st Annual Women in Higher Education Lecture titled: When it takes more than samba to break the glass ceiling in academia. A narrative from the Global South.

Prof. Carolina Pavese,
EMSP, Brazil

Reflecting general power structures in our societies, academia remains an arena where women are marginalized. Several studies demonstrate that women across the world are under-represented in all decision-making fora, including committees, boards, and recruitment panels. Overall, they are less likely to get promoted, even in countries with diverse policies and gender equality legislation. The obstacles women still face are not explicit to all -there is a glass ceiling in academia. Yet, despite being a global phenomenon, gender inequality hits women differently; they are overlooked not only as a result of their gender but also for their nationality, race, age, sexuality and other intersecting identities. Coming from Latin America and having strong professional and academic experience in Europe, in this provocative lecture Prof. Pavese provides an intersectional approach to discuss the gender gap in academia. The objective is to shed light on the extra bias women from the Global South face when pursuing a career globally.

Date: 6 November 2023
Time: 12h00 UK; 09h00 Brazil; 14h00 SA
Venue: Microsoft Teams
RSVP: Click here
Enquiries: Daniel Ekup-Nse: Events and Communications Coordinator, Prowibo Think Tank, +27 61 586 3259

Women-Focused School Programmes

Prowibo has worked with Karamat Husain Muslim Girls P.G. College and Avadh Girls’ P.G College in Lucknow, India and at the African Rural University in Kagadi, Uganda to provide  women-only programmes. These are run on a summer school model to teach and empower young women.


Sanatakada Workshop Series 

Since 2018 Prowibo has collaborated with the Sabhavana Trust to host a workshop series at the Sanatakada Craft Shop in Lucknow, India. The workshop series aimed to help local women working in three areas:  video and film production, various community work with families living in marginalised communities aiming to empower the girl child, and the Sanatkada craft shop. Through the Sanatkada series, Prowibo professors have led hand-on seminars on how to create a business plan using Canvas, how to develop effective fundraising strategies and how to increase an organization’s visibility.

Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality

Prowibo in collaboration with The 50/50 Group ran a workshop Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality in July 2018 in Sierra Leone. The workshop was led by Sabrina White, an Economic and Social Research Council-Funded 1+3 PhD. This workshop explored the many different conceptions of feminism and constructed a dialogue for how to constructively speak about and pursue gender equality in Sierra Leone.


The 2019 Prowibo conference on Women, Development and Higher Education, in partnership with Srinakarinwirot University and LSEIdeas, was held on 2 July, 2019 in Bangkok. It brought together stakeholders from education, NGOs, businesses and policymakers to address the difficult questions of reaching gender parity and the role that higher education has to play in this process.

This was followed by the online conference on Improving Women’s Retention in Higher Education on 27 March 2021. Participants from Africa, Asia, Europe and America explored solutions for improving female student retention and female faculty retention in institutions of higher education around the world.



University Retention and Recruitment of Women in Developing Countries

This report by Njomeza Blakcori presents an overview of the social, economic, environmental and institutional barriers that affect student retention and recruitment in the Global South. The purpose of this document is to present information on recent trends and to demonstrate potential strategies to improve the institutional capacities of universities to effectively recruit and retain students.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science Q&A with Melissa Sterry

Doctor Melissa Sterry is a design scientist and complex systems theorist, recognised as a world-leading authority on science, technology, design, and thinking. To mark the International Day of Women, Prowibo sat down with her to discuss her early career and her advice to young women trying to enter STEM fields. Read the Q&A here.