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Equalitylink June 2015


Welcome June 2015

Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in colleges in Scotland. Equalitylink is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector.

Equality update

Today is national women in engineering day!

23 June 2015

Less than 10% of the engineering workforce is female. National women in engineering day (NWED) has been established to bring gender diversity and equality to the engineering and wider scientific sector.

Last year over 250 schools and 100 organisations were involved, each hosting their own events and activities to promote and support more females in this male dominated industry.

Follow the day on Twitter #NWED

Women in science hits the headlines

Following Professor Sir Tim Hunt’s off-the-cuff remarks at a lunch in South Korea earlier this month, there has been an increased focus on the issues faced by women in science.

ECU’s Interim Head of Equality Charters, Sarah Dickinson, appeared on BBC World to talk about the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine and the work ECU do through our Athena SWAN Charter to drive forward cultural and systemic change.

Watch Sarah on BBC World

Find out more about ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

Celebrating ten years of the Athena SWAN Charter

In 2015, ECU is proud to be celebrating ten years of the Athena SWAN Charter. The charter was established in 2005 to recognise institutional commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research.

ECU are also looking ahead after the announcement of the expansion of the charter to cover gender equality in the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, for those working in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

ECU would like to invite you to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Athena SWAN Charter with us on the 24 July 2015 at King’s College London.

Sign up for your free place at our celebrations

Our work

ECU Scotland programme 2015-2018

ECU are pleased to announce that the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will be funding ECU for a further three years to work to provide projects, support and guidance to advance and embed equality in Scottish post-16 education.

The agreement runs from August 2015-2018 and our priority areas for work over the next three years have been identified through consultation with representatives from institutions at liaison group meetings.

The priorities for action include:

  • meeting the Scottish specific duties – events, advice and resources to support your institution
  • governing bodies, equality and diversity – work with college boards in meeting Equality Act responsibilities and  increasing their diversity
  • attracting diversity – a project tackling student underrepresentation
  • college staff equality – a project to develop practice that supports college staff equality

In addition, ECU’s core work will fully account for and involve Scottish institutions. Guidance on a range of equality and diversity issues will be available to Scottish institutions through our website and advice line.


Athena SWAN in Australia

As recently mentioned in Times Higher Education, ECU are delighted to be working with local partnership organisations to introduce the Athena SWAN Charter to Australian higher education institutions.

In order to help achieve this, ECU will soon be welcoming Dr Zuleyka Zevallos on a six month secondment to our London office to learn about the implementation of the Athena SWAN Charter. Dr Zevallos manages the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

There is still time for you to join the team too, we have a vacancy for an Equality Charters Adviser to work on the Athena SWAN Charter and our Race Equality Charter Mark.

Apply until 25 June 2015

Scottish National Equality Improvement Project (SNEIP)

ECU is currently taking part in the Scottish National Equality Improvement Project.

The project aims to implement the Scottish Minister’s proposals, published in 2013 under the Scottish specific duties regulations. It intends to support the public sectors to better perform the duties.

ECU is ensuring the representation of the higher and further education sectors. Group meetings have taken place in March and June this year to work with the Scottish Government to test ideas, build partnerships and share practice across the sectors. Other members of the group include SCEN (Scottish Council’s Equality Network), COSLA, Non-Departmental Public Bodies equality network, Police Scotland, NHS Scotland Health Board Network and Improvement Service.

The project still has two meetings to go and a final conference at the end of 2015 where ideas that have come out of the group meetings will be shared.

To keep up to date with all our work, follow us on Twitter @EqualityinHE

Get involved

Become a panellist for our Equality Charters

Participating in an equality charter mark

panel gives you an invaluable experience of the assessment process.

You will come away with a detailed understanding of how panels work, and insight into how other institutions analyse their data and make progress on their action plan.

Reading through a range of applications will also give you plenty of good practice ideas you may wish to consider implementing in your institution.

Being on a panel member also gives you an opportunity to build your professional networks and share learning among peers.

We are always seeking panellists with the following roles and specialisms:

  • academics
  • professional services staff
  • equality and diversity practitioners
  • HR practitioners
  • representatives of research councils, research institutes, learned societies and professional bodies

More information about becoming a panellist

Join your local equality network

Equality and diversity practitioners often work in isolation. Practitioner networks are a good way of finding local peer support and sharing good practice.

Practitioner networks are made up of representatives with responsibility for equality and diversity from higher education institutions in a particular region.

Find your local network meeting and information about other national and regional networksMore information about becoming a panellist

Call for case studies from the Creative Industries Federation

The Creative Industries Federation, the national membership body representing creative industries, public arts and cultural education, is looking for case studies for a paper on diversity and access (primarily BAME, gender and socioeconomic). 

They are looking for examples of institutional best practice, including in universities themselves, and organisations and charities that educational bodies believe have been helpful in pointing out means by which course providers and faculty can improve diversity and access. Although all case studies are welcome, the Federation is in particular looking for work related to the creative industries, which include media, advertising, music, performing arts, visual arts, architecture, craft, publishing, design etc.

If you have any questions, or are aware of a university, charity or programme doing exceptional work in this area, please contact Deadline for submissions is 16 September 2015, but an early as possible response would be appreciated.

Resources and support

Discipline-specific guides on embedding equality and diversity

The Higher Education Academy’s Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum project has published five discipline-specific practitioner guides for embedding equality and diversity into learning and teaching experiences and environments.

Each guide focuses on a specific discipline, and includes:

  • current state of play
  • theories and strategies around embedding equality and diversity
  • case studies of UK and non-UK learning and teaching activities that embed equality and diversity
  • guidance and advice on taking embedded equality and diversity forward in learning and teaching practices

The disciplines covered are art and design, classics, education, physical sciences and social work. However, the principles they contain will be of use to all subjects and practitioners of learning and teaching in higher education.

Download the practitioner guides

Request extra copies of our statistics snapshot

ECU has continued to have a number of requests for bulk orders of our Know your numbers booklets.

Institutions are using the booklet to highlight to departments and senior leaders the equality challenges the sector faces.

The mini booklet of infographics taken from our HE stats report has been designed to raise awareness of equality and diversity data across institutions and encourage wider audiences to engage with equality issues.

We can provide up to 20 copies free of charge. Orders over this will cost £1 per booklet including postage. Email to order copies.

Making higher education more Deaf-friendly

The Language and Identities InterAction policy forum at York St John University has published a position statement and paper addressing the position of Deaf students and academics from linguistics and disability rights perspectives, and makes recommendations how to make higher education more Deaf-friendly.

Download the position statement and paper in British Sign Language and in English

Black and minority ethnic leadership in higher education

ECU and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) recent summit on leadership in higher education.

ECU recently held a joint summit with the LFHE to discuss how we can improve the number of BME leaders in higher education. The day aimed to gather ideas and actions in order to work towards better diversity of leadership.

Both David Ruebain, CEO at ECU and Gary Loke, Head of Policy contributed to the panel discussion and some important ideas were taken away.

The event launched the LFHE report How can we make not break black and minority ethnic leaders in higher education? and ECU shared its recent research into academic flight.

Women in science and engineering videos

Liverpool Women in Science and Engineering (LivWiSE) has produced a number of promotional films celebrating science and engineering subjects/careers.

Eating disorder support resources

Bournemouth University has launched two new videos which aim to show how eating disorders affect those with the illness and their carers, and how recovery restores hope for the future.

Realising I have an eating disorder

Recovering from an eating disorder: hope, strength and life

To establish impact of the videos Bournemouth have created the awareness, recovery and hope in eating disorders survey which aims to look at people’s experience to establish whether watching any of these videos has started to change or reinforce existing attitudes towards eating disorders.


Share your events on Twitter

If you’d like us to help promote your equality events, tweet us @EqualityinHE.

Equality in Scotland’s young workforce: coordinating fair access to college

29 June 2015, Glasgow

This event brings together sector agencies and college senior managers in Scotland to discuss approaches to achieving the equality aspects of the Developing Scotland’s Young Work Force Strategy.

The day will include keynote inputs from the Scottish Government and Education Scotland. There will be a response and panel discussion with representatives from colleges, College Development Network, Education Scotland, National Union of Students, and Skills Development Scotland.

Places are free. The majority are reserved for delegates from colleges and sector agencies in Scotland.

Book your place

ECU governing bodies, equality and diversity in Scottish HEIs

30 June 2015, Edinburgh

ECU is launching the report and findings from our research on Governing bodies, equality and diversity in Scottish HEIs. This event is aimed at university governors, chairs, secretaries and related staff.

ECU will present finding and recommendations from the report, including recommendations on increasing the diversity of governing bodies. The research, which included 94 survey responses and 22 interviews from Scottish governors and secretaries, highlights examples from across the sector, internationally, as well as from outside of higher education.

The day will include a panel discussion, chaired by Professor Neva Haites, vice principal for equality at University of Aberdeen. Confirmed panel members include:

  • David Ross, Chair of the Committee of Scottish Chairs and Convenor of University of Glasgow Court
  • Keir Bloomer, Chair of Court at Queen Margret University
  • Ann Marie Dalton, University Secretary at Heriot-Watt University
  • Davena Rankin, Staff Govenor, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland President

“”>ECU governing bodies, equality and diversity in Scottish HEIs

The Further Education Equality Knowledge Exchange

14 July 2015, London

16 July 2015, Manchester

For the last six months ECU has been working with 29 projects in the Equality and diversity good practice fund, which offered grants from £1,000 up to £30,000 for projects that advance equality, diversity and inclusion for learners in the FE sector in England.

We are now coming up to the final events, where projects will be sharing the good practice they have developed over the last six months. If you are:

  • interested in improving equality practice throughout your organisation
  • want to hear from organisations who have tackled similar issues
  • Would benefit from shared examples of how to meet the public sector equality duty

Then register today for our free Equality and diversity good practice fund dissemination events for further education (FE) organisations in England.

Discrimination Law Association annual conference

26 October, London

President of the Employment Tribunals, Judge Brian Doyle has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Discrimination Law Association annual conference in London on 29 October 2015.

More information on the conference programme

If you would like your event to be featured on our website and the next issue of Equalitylink, please email details to Gemma Instrall, Interim Stakeholder Engagement Manager.