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Chinese women of Cambridge: Part of The Rising Tide programme


On Friday 29 February, a diverse audience of 70 students, alumni and representatives from local businesses poured into the McGrath Center at St Catharine’s College for a special event dedicated to the experiences of Chinese women in Cambridge. The event was organized by a St Catharine's postgraduate student, Olivia Halsall (2019, Education), and sponsored by the Cambridge University Library as part of a programme called 'The Rising Tide: Women of Cambridge', which has provided an important forum to discuss the past and current experience of women in the University. 

With insights spanning bioengineering, banking and business, the panel of illustrious speakers consisted of four University alumna:

  • Cindy Lo, Global Head of Liquidity Solutions at HSBC,
  • Ting Zhang, founder of,
  • Qun Yang, co-founder of biotechnology company Biorbyt, and
  • Yan Yan Shery Huang, University Lecturer and Associate Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Cambridge.

Each woman offered their unique perspective on their lives and successes as Chinese-identifying women in Cambridge. The panel shared personal experiences and reflections on a wide range of issues that included cultural integration, confidence, career expectations, strong women in previous generations, the retention of Chinese values when living and working abroad, the economic opportunities available to women, the domestic contribution of men and the “double burden” faced by women who work while managing unpaid domestic responsibilities.

At the invitation of the organiser, Fellow of the College Professor Hans van de Ven (1988) kindly agreed to chair the event's panel discussion and a fascinating Q&A with the audience.

"A huge thank-you to the speakers and chair, the University Library team, for their IT support and St Catharine’s for hosting us. I was inspired by the Rising Tide initiative to organise an event that would shine a spotlight on the important contributions and experiences of Chinese-identifying women in Cambridge. I was delighted that so many attendees shared my interest in the topic and were able to participate in the event," commented Olivia Halsall.