More than 60 academics have signed a letter calling for the appointment of a Dame Margaret Mead as the first female professor of the Royal Society of Arts.
The academics, who are backed by former prime minister Tony Blair, have called for the institution to consider the appointment following reports that Mead is not qualified to take the position.
Mead, who retired from academia in 2007, has been praised for her work at the Royal Institution in London.
The letter from academics including Professor John Fyfe, a former British Ambassador to China, and former Head of the British Council’s Department of International Affairs and former chairman of the University of Cambridge’s Royal Society and Oxford University said Mead should be considered.
It said Mead was “a distinguished scholar of the humanities and science” and should be the first woman to lead the RSO.
“Her long career at the Rso will be recognised and we urge the Royal Societies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences to make this appointment permanent,” they wrote.
“She is a very capable scholar, who has been an important voice in the international arena and has been a great advocate for women in the arts and humanities.”
The letter comes amid an ongoing debate about whether Mead should head the RSU.
Mead, who died in 2016, was the first women to serve as the president of the RSA and is widely credited with bringing women into the arts.
In a 2016 interview with The Sunday Times, she said she hoped the RSC would consider appointing Mead as a “woman of great talent” to head the arts organisation.
“It’s not the first time that I have had the honour of being asked,” Mead said.
“I am hoping we can find a way to make it happen.
I’m not sure how, but I would hope we can do it.”
The RSC is currently considering a succession plan, which could see Mead succeed Sir Terry Venables, who took over the reins from Sir John Kerr, who resigned last year.