Dr Safi Darden

Safi Darden

Dr Safi Darden is a lecturer within the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour in the department of Psychology. Her research investigates the interplay between the behaviour of individuals and processes and patterns expressed at the population level. Her main line of research is aimed at understanding how inter-individual sexual interactions act as a driving force for social evolution.

Safi says: “There are several milestones along an academic pathway and I feel that each of them represents a different type of challenge that we can be proud of overcoming. The most recent of these is when I was appointed lecturer in the Psychology department. This was especially meaningful for me because I had already been working in the department as a teaching fellow and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and when I was selected for the lectureship it felt like a true acknowledgement that I had a place in the Department and the College. On the day of my interview I received so many messages of support and encouragement from staff in the department, which to me meant just as much.”

As Chair of the Athena SWAN initiative in Psychology, Safi was fundamental to successfully achieving a bronze award for the department and continues to work towards improving the working environment and paths to career progression for everyone in Psychology. Referring to this year’s theme of International Women’s Day, ‘equality for women is progress for all’, she says: “We cannot prosper in a world where half of the world’s population suffers from unequal treatment due to biological sex.”

The late author, poet, actress, dancer and singer Maya Angelou is a strong role model for Safi, who says she “encompassed so much of what I see as ‘ultimate woman’.” She added: “I have found true inspiration in her strength, poise, intellect, compassion, wisdom, ability to overcome, overwhelming insight and freedom of expression.”

Advising others not to “Let your fears hinder you from achieving your dreams,” Safi says she feels joy “When I see compassion, kindness and achievement in the people around me.”