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UK's only black female history professor speaks

PICTURED: Dr. Olivette Otele

DR OLIVETTE Otele received praise last month as it was revealed she was appointed as the first black female professor in the UK - but the acclaimed academic is using her voice to speak out against the limitations placed upon people of colour in higher education.

Speaking to the BBC Dr Otele said: “I think structural barriers prevent people who look like me and from other ethnic backgrounds from reaching the ladder and achieving certain things. You have to work harder, much harder."

"UK academia is very hard in general for anybody," says Dr Otele, "but even harder for people of other backgrounds.

"Historians are a very close-knit group. It's not surprising that there's only two of us; first a black man who was appointed two years ago and now me."

Dr Otele, is originally from Cameroon and specialises in collective memory and geopolitics. She holds a PhD in history from Sorbonne University in Paris and has previously written about various issues including slavery and feminism.

"I've worked very hard and kept pushing and had a family," she says. "It's hard. I'm tired. It's bleak."

Dr. Otele spoke to the BBC as they announced their 100 Women of 2018 list, which celebrates influential and inspiring women from around the world.

Notable names featured on the prestigious list include Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, who was listed at no.1 for founding GirlsCoding, an NGO that teaches girls how to code, design and build websites that help solve problems in their communities.

Blogger Chidera Eggerue (The Slumflower) also made the list following the release of her debut book and inspiring the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement.

See the full list here

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