Governing diversity

December 3, 2015

We could not agree more that women are most affected by workaholic cultures, but our evidence shows that diversity is a concern for governors (“Female academic leaders suffer more from ‘workaholic’ hours culture”, News, 26 November).

Consistently, Athena SWAN applications confirm that women undertake more “caring” roles, such as pastoral care and outreach, than men. All too often, these efforts are not adequately recognised or addressed, and this must change. As part of the Athena SWAN awards process, the Equality Challenge Unit asks universities and departments about their workload allocation models and recommends that they put in place fair and transparent models that recognise all elements of the academic role if they wish to improve gender equality.

In a survey the ECU ran in Scotland, 79 per cent of governors agreed or strongly agreed that their governing body attaches a high level of priority to equality and diversity.

Furthermore, equality and diversity are placed at the heart of good governance by the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance, which was developed through consultation with governors. Governors in other countries would do well to take a cue from their peers north of the border.

Chris Hall
Head of external relations
Equality Challenge Unit


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