Equality and diversity news highlights from last week – HESA stats reveal low numbers of women and BME professors, seven FTSE 100 companies still without a single woman in their boardrooms, letter to David Cameron to reconsider plans to legalise gay marriage, and one of the most senior Asian policemen resigns after being denied promotion.

Recent Higher Education Statitical Agency (HESA) statistics reveal that number of women and BME professors remains persistently low, with women and BME people comprising only 20.5% and 7.7% of all professorial staff respectively.

Following this, Sally Tomlinson, Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths College, wrote of her experience as one of the very few women professors of the time. She was greeted by the Lancaster Evening Post with the headline ‘Mother of three made professor’. But perhaps one of her most remarkable experiences was participating in a Cambridge Union debate where Lord Beloff announced, “The lady from the north calls herself a professor. This is like a motor mechanic calling himself an engineer”.

There are still seven FTSE 100 companies without a single woman in their boardrooms. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has warned that “doing nothing was not an option anymore”.

With only a day to go before the gay marriage bill is put to vote in the Parliament, a group of Conservative party constituency chairmen and longstanding supporters have written to David Cameron to reconsider or delay the plans to legalise gay marriage. The bill is expected to pass tomorrow with heavy support from Labour and Liberal Democrats.

Last week, Greater Manchester Chief Constable discussed the diversity crisis in the country’s police force and called for new law to allow positive discrimination in favour of BME officers. This week we hear that one of the most senior Asian policemen has resigned after being denied promotion to chief officer rank. Chief Superintendent Dal Babu says that while he thinks things have changed since 1983 when people would openly call him names, he laments that in 30 years, the police has only managed to go from 1% to 5% BME officers.