With the projection that students of non-white ethnic backgrounds will make up 74% of those entering higher education (HE) in 2030 and the almost doubled number of BAME staff and staff with disclosed disabilities in HE, the capital’s HEIs must accommodate, harness and champion these communities in its aim to be inclusive and representative. There is a great deal of complexity that comes along with all these different identities, and the greater the attention and care given to this, the better HEIs can equip themselves to address the real strengths and unique needs of their students and staff.
London Higher has created the Equality, diversity and inclusion showcase to not only celebrate and share the existing, imminent, and ongoing work that London HEIs are doing, but also to mark where the sector stands in its journey towards more equal, diverse, and inclusive practices. It aims to recognise where particular strengths lie, and where we must address shortcomings and challenges.
Accompanied by a range of written and filmed case studies, the showcase is divided into the following categories: decolonising work; disability; race and ethnicity; gender and sexuality; intersectional projects; and other initiatives that fall outside of these categories.
The showcase also identifies six challenges in this space, including: a lack of easily available information on EDI activity undertaken by each institution; a lack of consistency in the ways and extent to which different groups are supported; some initiatives being small scale and limited in their impact; and definitions of who fits into which group being difficult to determine.
London Higher recommends that providers should use both qualitative and quantitative data to understand the success of EDI activity; to be proactive in meaningfully addressing the challenges within any given institution; and to be transparent. Institutions must also work collaboratively and share best practice to best serve the diverse population of staff and students within the capital and be leaders in creating a fairer and more equitable society in higher education and beyond.
Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer, London Higher said:
“The equality, diversity and inclusion showcase does a great job of showing all the wonderful work our member institutions in London are doing, as well as identifying the challenges in this space. I want to thank the institutions who have contributed case studies and video content; this really makes the showcase come alive.
Now it’s time that London’s higher education community works together to fill the gaps where there is still more to do and ensure that the higher education sector in London is fully moving towards more equal, diverse and inclusive practices for the future.”
Professor Dibyesh Anand, Chair of London Higher EDI Network said:
“Various HEIs are doing important work in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion and yet, as a sector, we often operate in silos and don’t have forums to share good practices and learn from, and be inspired by, each other. This showcase from London Higher is a welcome reminder of the contributions London HEIs are making in challenging prejudices and celebrating diversities in the workplace and in society. We now need to build upon this and get better at collaborating, balancing between specificities and intersectionality, and being there for each other.”
Professor Jane Harrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of Greenwich and Executive Chair of London Higher’s EDI network said:
“It is pleasing to be able to showcase such a wide range of EDI activities across the sector and to see some examples of really excellent practice. However, it is also important that we rise to the challenges raised and recognise that there is more work to do. It will only be by working together and being transparent about what needs to happen that this change will be possible. I am looking forward to working with London Higher’s EDI network in 2023 to support the changes we all look forward to seeing across the sector.”
- The Equality, diversity and inclusion showcase is available on the London Higher website: https://londonhigher.ac.uk/resource/equality-diversity-and-inclusion-showcase/
- The accompanying videos can be watched on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1echGIhH-M&list=PLby-vkMTs9fnOTNTa1h_nIc75msCr0HW-