David Ruebain - Current Issues of Equality Diversity in HE
Current Issues of Equality & Diversity in Higher Education David Ruebain Chief Executive, Equality Challenge Unit
Equality Challenge Unit= Established in 2001 to promote equality for staff in higher education in the UK= Remit extended in 2006 to include students= Funded by the 4 UK higher education funding Councils, Universities UK and GuildHE= 19 staff, based in London= Since August 2011 working with colleges in Scotland
Equality Challenge Unit ECU works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education and seeks to ensure that staff and students are not unfairly excluded, marginalised or disadvantaged because of age, disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or through any combination of these characteristics or other unfair treatment.
What we do• Research and investigation• Guidance• Advice line• Systemic change “beyond compliance”• Chartermark?• Networks• REF, Research, sector specific work• Equality Link• Web resources
And also= Biennial Conference= Best practice= Regional support= Intersection with widening participation (OFFA) – increasingly important with changes to the sector (fees, core & margin, student “experience”)
45 years of legislation= From the Race Relations Act 1965 to the Equality act 2010 and 9 protected characteristics= Direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation, harassment, reasonable adjustments= Equal pay, positive action, procurement= The Public Sector Duty= Socioeconomic status?
Equality of what?= Opportunity= Outcome= Dignity?
Some Challenges in HE= BME staff ‒ Underrepresentation; marginalisation= BME students ‒ Differential degree attainment= Disabled staff/students ‒ Disclosure ‒ Lack of support for staff as compared with students= Older staff ‒ Abolition of default retirement age
Challenges (2)= Gender ‒ “Leaky pipeline” for women academics ‒ Male students attainment and pastoral support= Sexual orientation ‒ Harrassment= Religion and belief ‒ Participation and access ‒ Accommodating religious observance
Students – ethnicityHigher levels of representation nationally= BME students increased from 14.9% in 2003/04 to 18.1% in 2009/10.= Increase in the proportion of BME students across all sub-categories, with the percentage of black students increasing at the fastest rate, from 4.4% to 5.9%.However:= Lower degree attainment than white peers= Lower continuation rates than white peers
Ethnicity and type of institution (Runnymede: 2010, p.7)
The degree attainment gap increased from 17.2% in 2003/04 to a peak of 18.8% in 2005/06 and was 18.6% in 2009/10. The attainment gap is highest between white and black students, where the difference was 29.8% in 2009/10.Source: ECU publication ‘Equality in higher education: Statistical report 2011.’
Students – disability Of those students for whom disability information was available, the proportion known to have a disability increased from 5.5% in 2003/04 to 7.6% in 2009/10.= First degree undergraduate qualifiers known to have a disability were less likely to obtain a first class honours or upper second class honours degree (59.9%) than those not known to have a disability (63.4%).= Of those declaring a disability, students who were in receipt of DSA were more likely to obtain a first class honours or upper second class honours degree (60.2%) than students who did not receive DSA.
Students – Gender= Over the past 7 years, there has been consistently more female students than male students in higher education.= Male students are more likely to attain a lower 2nd or 3rd class honours.= Male students are more likely to withdraw from course.= 52.4% of post-graduate student studying SET subjects are male.
Staff - Race The proportion of UK national, BME academics is slowly increasing (5.9% in 2003/04 to 7.0% in 2009/10). However – • UK national, BME staff are more likely to on fixed-term contracts • Less likely to be in professorial roles
Staff - Gender= Overall 19.1% of professors are women. This is more acute in SET subjects at 15.1%. = The mean and median salaries of female staff are less than for male staff in almost all occupation groups.
Why do anything?- Business case – diverse institutions perform better, particularly in a global, diverse environment- Legislation - compliance- E&D is part of core mission of research and teaching & learning
Systemic change work• Concentrated on under-representation of women and BME staff in higher education• Exploring culture change, not just support for individuals. Not just about “intent”• May lead to a framework or kite mark• Building on Athena SWAN principles
Building on Athena SWAN= The culture of your department – self assessment= Mentoring and career development support= Career transition points= Committee membership and development= Flexible working arrangements= Transparent workload allocation models= Core hours of meetings= Support for those on/returning from parental leave
ECU in a complex environment= Tension between “pushing the agenda” and supporting compliance= Differing needs of the sector from mission groups, regions, types and size of HEIs= Impact of our work