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Equalitylink June 2016

Read June's round-up of equality news and information


Welcome June 2016

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

Transparency in the application process

UCAS publish disaggregated figures

Earlier this month UCAS published new analysis on numbers of applications, offers and acceptances from UK domiciled students by ethnic group, sex and area background.

At ECU we welcome any move to make data available and transparent so that institutions can be analytical in their approach to equality, diversity and inclusion and can ensure they are prioritising and directing resources in the best possible way.

However, there is a need for institutions to look closely at their raw data to get the full picture to address fair access

ECU’s response to UCAS release.

Find out more about equality data on our website: Research and data section

We teamed up with UCAS to produce a guide to the ethnicity data available to your institution.

We’ve launched a new guide to working with data, see Resources and support below.

Universities role in tackling inequality

University Alliance report

University Alliance, which represents ‘Britain’s universities for cities and regions’ have highlighted the role of universities in reducing inequality and supporting their local communities in a recently published report.

Supporting thriving communities: the role of universities in reducing inequality shares successful case studies of initiatives to improve access, retention, progression and graduate success for students. It also sets this work within the wider context of universities tackling inequalities in their cities and regions.

Supporting thriving communities: the role of universities in reducing inequality

Creating inclusive learning and teaching communities

HERAG think tank 3

On 20 June the Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG) held their third annual think tank on the theme of Creating inclusive learning and teaching communities: reflection and practice.

The event was equally exciting and challenging.

There was a quiet shared optimism about the increased profile of race equality on the agenda of the HE sector, in particular the focus on tackling the attainment gap. An optimism vocalised in HERAG Chair Nona McDuff’s opening speech. But this optimism was accompanied by a sense of urgency and commitment to tackle the ongoing discrimination and isolation of minority ethnic students and staff in our universities.

Malia Bouattia delivered a powerful keynote about her experience of moving from student activism to her priorities as incoming President of the NUS. She spoke personally of the isolation she experienced as a Black student, and the value of safe and supportive spaces for minority ethnic students. She acknowledged that the conversation about race is a difficult but necessary one.

Throughout the various workshops the significance of creating inclusive spaces in order to allow inclusive learning and teaching to take place prevailed. The day closed in the same inspiring way it began with a frank discussion of intersectionality and identity politics within the HE environment.

You can follow the discussion from the day on Twitter #HERAG2016, and presentations will be available from ECU’s website shortly.


HERAG is currently looking for three members to join the steering group. Find out more in the Get involved section.

Gender pay gap reporting

Higher education institutions in the public sector not covered by new gender pay gap regulations

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016, which include mandatory gender pay gap reporting, are due to commence in October of this year.

These regulations will apply to private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees. They do not apply to the majority of higher education institutions, which are part of the public sector.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016, which include mandatory gender pay gap reporting, are due to commence in October of this year.

The Government Equalities Office has confirmed to ECU that the government is working on the details of the new reporting requirements for public bodies in England and will announce further details following a separate consultation exercise.

We have more detail on this online.

Our work

ECU’s training team

Increasing our training team

Training and learning resources, workshops and webinars, and bespoke training sessions form a growing part of our programme of support for subscribers in England and Northern Ireland, and the institutions we support in Wales and Scotland through centralised funding.

The training and resources that we develop aim to help address your institution’s specific needs, to support equality and diversity practitioners to embed equality across their institution, and to share good practice examples and effective approaches to common challenges.

Alongside this, we also run training sessions to support ECU’s Equality Charters – from workshops for new members just setting up their self-assessment team, to training sessions for award panellists and chairs to ensure consistent judgments.

In light of this growing area of support, we are introducing a dedicated training team, headed by Clare Pavitt, who many of you will know from her work as a senior policy adviser. Clare has a great deal of experience developing and delivering national training schemes for ECU and in previous roles.

Joining Clare will be Tinu Cornish, who has moved over from her role as Equality Charters adviser working on both the Race Equality Charter and Athena SWAN, bringing with her many years of experience of developing and running training including unconscious bias training for ECU, as well as effective Equality Charter panellist and chair training.

The training team will continue to be supported by the expertise of the wider policy team and the work of the Equality Charters in the development of materials and programmes.

The team are busy developing a number of training programmes including webinars on good practice in recruitment and selection later in the year.

Details of our new dignity at work seminars, which will take place in October and November, will be released shortly.

Building international equality

Gender-NET project

As part of the GENDER-NET project, ECU has been developing and delivering gender equality capacity-building and awareness seminars in Slovenia and Cyprus.

The seminars were run in conjunction with project partners the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus.

The seminars focused on:

  • increasing knowledge of gender equality and its importance to European research
  • reflecting on the barriers to the recruitment and progression of women in research
  • considering in particular the role of unconscious bias in limiting the progress of women in research
  • identifying opportunities and actions to address these barriers including through examples from GENDER-NET work and other projects

In the Cyprus seminar, Professor Nigel Seaton, vice-chancellor of Abertay University presented on his experience of leading change on gender equality at his university as an example of how leaders champion this work.

The materials from the seminars will shared as an output from the project.

Athena SWAN Charter in Australia

We are continuing to support the development of ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter in Australia, working with Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) who are developing the charter for the Australian context.

SAGE has invited ECU’s Chief executive David Ruebain to attend a national symposium in Sydney, Australia to sharing examples of best practice from UK Athena SWAN award holders, and giving insight into the process to support Australian institutions taking part in this pilot programme.

Athena SWAN awards

November 2015 round

The ceremony for the seven institutions, 76 departments and one research institute who achieved ECU’s Athena SWAN awards in the November 2015 round will be held on Thursday 30 June.

Hosted by University of Sheffield, the event will mark the first time that arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments and institutions will receive an award.

This awards round also saw the first successful applications using the new Athena SWAN Charter criteria, which includes professional and support staff, considers trans staff and wider gender equality.

Professor Helen Beebee, an Athena SWAN patron, has written a blog reflecting on the expansion of the Charter ahead of the awards.

Blog: And they’re off!

Get involved

Join the team

ECU has a number of opportunities to join the team

Do you want to help advance equality and diversity at a national level? Join a team committed to making a difference for staff and students in universities and colleges.

ECU welcomes applications from all candidates irrespective of age, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, or marital or civil partnership status. We particularly welcome applications from men and black and minority ethnic candidates.

For further details and to apply for any of the roles below, visit our jobs page: ECU jobs.

Please make sure to explain clearly how you meet each of the criteria set out in the person specification for the relevant role – applications will be shortlisted on this basis.

Researcher (quantitative methods)

The researcher will work on the development, analysis and delivery of ECU’s research and data initiatives, particularly those with a quantitative element. This will include leading on the delivery of the latest Athena Survey of Science, Engineering and Technology (ASSET), a national survey examining gender equality among academics in STEMM.

Salary: £33,790 per annum

Closing date: 12.00, Monday 4 July 2016.

Researcher (mixed methods)

The researcher will work on the development, analysis and delivery of ECU’s research and data initiatives, triangulating data using the most appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods. This will include undertaking literature reviews, analysing datasets, developing discussion guides, facilitating focus groups and interviews, and synthesising these results into research reports and presentations.

Salary: £33,790 per annum

Closing date: 12.00, Monday 4 July 2016.

Senior policy adviser

The post holder will research, develop and provide professional policy advice, guidance and support on equality and diversity issues to HE institutions and colleges in the UK. In particular, the post holder should have knowledge on widening participation, social mobility and/or inclusive teaching and learning practice.

Salary: £39,172 per annum

Closing date: 12.00, Monday 4 July 2016.

ECU Equality Charters adviser

As mentioned above[add anchor here to above story], our current ECU Charters adviser will be moving over to our training team, leaving an exciting opportunity to be part of building and further developing ECU’s Race Equality Charter.

The role will support both of ECU’s Equality Charters, but will have a greater focus on the Race Equality Charter.

Salary: £33,790 per annum

Closing date: 12.00, Monday 8 August 2016.

For further details and to apply for any of the roles above, visit our jobs page: ECU jobs.


Join the steering group

HERAG (Higher Education Race Action Group) are currently looking to recruit a three new members, including a new vice-chair.

With race equality gaining higher profile on the HE agenda, HERAG is inviting colleagues who are interested in helping to shape their work to join the steering group.

HERAG is made up of equality and diversity professionals, academics, students and other individuals interested in advancing race equality in higher education. It is completely voluntary and receives secretariat support from the ECU.

The priorities for HERAG over the next two years are:

  • Developing positive outcomes for BME students, including attainment, progression and employability
  • Supporting career progression for BME staff, both academic and professional/support staff within the sector
  • Exploring the development of a professional recognition framework on equality and diversity
  • Providing insight and support to those applying for ECU’s Race Equality Charter (anyone who has experience of taking their institution through this process would be particularly useful)

To apply: email details of your relevant experience and why you are interested in joining the steering group to current vice-chair Kevin Coutinho by 30 June 2016.

Resources and support

Working with data

Research and data briefing

Equality data is central to equality and diversity work – it is essential to understand both the context of your institution and to identify where action is needed.

But gathering and analysing this data can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much experience working with data.

We’ve put together a short guide to the basics of data gathering and analysis. It introduces concepts and approaches and provides a number of analytical tools alongside examples of how to interpret and present qualitative and quantitative data.

Download the briefing: Working with data

Confidence interval calculator

You can download our new Confidence interval calculator to check the validity of your results whether you are dealing with a small number of individuals or national figures.

Just enter your data and it will automatically calculate 95% confidence intervals and generate a graph that you can copy and paste into reports or strategy documents. The calculator includes instructions for data entry and the interpretation of results. You’ll find more information on using and interpreting confidence intervals in the briefing.

Download the calculator: Working with data

Governing bodies, equality and diversity

Handbook for governors of Scottish HE institutions

Governors have an integral part to play in supporting equality and diversity in your institution as part of pursuing the institutional mission and strategy, in providing legal assurance, and in helping to build a diverse and representative governing body.

This handbook can be used as induction material for new governors, as well as a training and development resource for your existing governing body.

Governing bodies, equality and diversity: handbook for governors in Scottish HEIs

Academic women now

Experiences of mid-career academic women in Scotland

Launched by the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s ‘Young Academy Scotland’ project, this booklet describes the career trajectory of 33 women working as academics in Scottish higher education, revealing their routes to success by discipline, personal circumstances and opportunities.

Dr Aileen Fyfe, Professor Sharon Ashbrook and Professor Ineke De Moortel from the University of St Andrews managed the project which hopes to tackle the still low numbers of senior women in universities.

Academic women now


LSE Power: Professional Women for Equality and Respect

29 June 2016, London

The LSE Power network conference including workshops and panels around the main theme of resilience and confidence.

Stella Creasy MP will be running a workshop around leadership and potential and other topics include negotiating skills, resilience in the workplace, making an impact and social media branding.

Resilience and confidence

Equality and diversity in legal education: from the classroom to the staff room

5 July 2016, City University London

An afternoon of talks arranged by the City Law School to mark the beginning of their work toward applying for ECU’s Athena SWAN awards.

Four internationally recognised academics will share their insights on the current equality and diversity landscape. Themes include radical pedagogy, experiential learning, work/life balance and the role of law schools in social change.

Equality and diversity in legal education

Improving BME recruitment ‘pot luck’ event

11 July 2016, University College London

Are you bored of hearing or making the case for diversity? Are you interested in just discussing solutions? Then this event may be for you…

HERAG would like to invite colleagues from London and beyond to an innovative best practice sharing event where equality experts will have the opportunity to briefly showcase what they are doing to enhance BME recruitment and discuss and critique these ideas in a friendly setting.

The format: 5 minute informal presentation (no presentation slides) followed by brief questions and answers.

Email the equalities team at UCL with your name, job title, and details of your idea or initiative.

9th European conference on gender equality in HE

12-14 September 2016, Paris

Researchers, professors, administrators, policy-makers, practitioners and students are invited to join the European network on gender equality’s ninth international conference.

The conference will include the final dissemination conference for the work of the international GENDER-NET project.

9th European conference on gender equality

LGBTQ inclusivity in higher education network

15-16 September 2016, Birmingham

The LGBTQ inclusivity in higher education network is holding the first international conference on what it means to be LGBTQ inclusive in further and higher education.

The conference offers an opportunity to further explore current developments and concerns related to LGBTQ inclusivity in the sectors. It will include workshops on supporting staff and staff networks, student experience, mentoring and careers, and faith, religion and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

There will also be a launch for a new best practice guide on developing and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in HE.

LGBTQ inclusivity in HE network conference

Gender equality in STEMM: the future is bright

11 October 2016, Ulster University, Northern Ireland

Ulster University, in partnership with the University of Limerick, the North West Regional College and Derry and Strabane District Council, will be running a conference to discuss and debate gender issues in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Registration details and the programme for the day are to follow. See the Ulster website or follow @UlsterEquality on Twitter for updates.

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