Wanda is Executive Director of The Equality Trust -the national charity that campaigns to reduce social and economic inequality for a fairer society.
I was lucky to have been mentored by Professor Norman Davies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, where I gained a first-class honours degree in Polish Studies. He recommended I apply to Hertford for the Starun Senior Scholarship, but as for so many before me and since, it was really Simpkin who clinched it for me. As an historian, I was drawn to the beautiful buildings and sense of place; grand, yet not grandiose.
During my first year studying for a Master of Studies in Research I enjoyed the various social events organised by the MCR and exchange dinners, which naturally I had to attend as the Bar Steward. Hertford’s close proximity to my beloved Duke Humphrey’s Library, the Old Congregation House café, and the King’s Arms, ensured a balance of work, rest and play. In the summer of 1998, when I awaited the outcome of my grant application to embark on my DPhil, I realised that I would have been devastated had I not continued with my studies here at Hertford.
In 2013, I published Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500- 1800, which was shortlisted for an award. After Hertford, I worked at the TUC on lifelong learning, was responsible for equality and diversity at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and campaigned on anti-bullying, sex and relationships education, homo-, bi- and transphobia, and poverty. This was excellent preparation for taking up the role of Executive Director at The Equality Trust.
Here at The Equality Trust we are campaigning to reduce inequality, because the evidence shows that in societies with higher rates of income inequality, we see higher rates of physical ill health, infant mortality, mental ill health and incarceration. We also see lower levels of social mobility, child wellbeing, and huge health inequalities. We campaign for cross-governmental inequality reduction strategies, legislation and transparency on pay ratios and more progressive taxation. We are also the UK convener of the global Fighting Inequality Alliance, we work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and politicians from all parties. I’m delighted that we are also working on school and college resources on inequality, supporting teachers and young people to challenge inequality, because inequality is not inevitable.