We have listened to many people talk about their experience of higher education and we have come to understand that, for some, ‘being yourself’ can be difficult, especially at a leading University. There can be a pressure to conform. We strive to create and sustain a cosmopolitan, open and welcoming environment where people can express themselves freely.
A second aim of our EDI work is to understand how structural inequalities manifest themselves at WBS and with what consequences. This involves addressing big issues, such as gender pay gap, and the under-representation of black people within our community of scholars. It also means being attentive to the ways difference is manifested in particular situations; the big consequences of apparently small things. We are learning not to be blind to difference, rather we strive to understand the challenges people face, and to use this to guide our work.
Formally, four main groups work on EDI projects.
- Separate Staff and Student Equality and Diversity Committees
- An Athena Swan Steering Group
- A Race Equality Network.
These groups have reach into all the major operational areas of the School. We have extended this reach by embedding EDI principles in our routines. Whatever people are doing, whether they are hiring faculty, recruiting students, inviting external speakers, or reviewing courses, the work will be carried out within the auspices of our EDI aims. We try to make EDI a matter of everyday life within the School.