Welcome to the new term! Highlights from last week’s equality and diversity news include – a very interesting interview with Janet Beer, vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Minister for equalities says that women should openly ask their male colleagues about their pay, and a survey highlights many universities are still not fully accessible for disabled students.
The Guardian Higher Education Network recently published a candid interview with Janet Beer, vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. Janet Beer is one of the 16 women vice chancellors in the UK, a disparity she is well aware of: “There were 16 women vice-chancellors when I started here at Oxford Brookes and there’s still only 16, so there definitely seems to be a one in, one out trend.” Reflecting on her experiences, Beer adds, “You’d have thought higher education would be a progressive environment, but it really isn’t. A woman on my governing body recently observed it’s more sexist than the construction industry in which she works. Management in higher education tends to be very male, very old school, with people appointing those who look like them.”
Jo Swinson, minister of equalities, has said that women should ask their male colleagues how much they earn if they want to get equal pay. She said, “If they [women] realised they were earning significantly less than male colleagues at a similar level, that might be the catalyst they need to ask for a pay rise.” Swinson was commenting on the Elle magazine campaign that highlights the 17.4% pay gap between men and women and urges women to ask male colleagues about their pay.
A study by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers suggests that many universities are still not fully accessible for disabled students. It also says that institutions are failing to signpost key information such as details of accessible accommodation. Only half of the 100 universities surveyed confirmed that all teaching rooms, study rooms and libraries were fully accessible. Tanvi Vyas, manager of Trailblazers, said: “There are plenty of simple measures that universities can take. Providing inclusive freshers’ guides, handy information on accessible transport and buildings and support networks can all make a huge difference to students adapting to campus life.”
Have something to add? Email Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk.