Equality knocks

April 21, 2000

I am not surprised that Derby was ranked second in the female/ethnic minorities league table ("Stopped by the unsound barrier", THES, April 14). When I arrived here in 1997, I was struck not only by the number of females and ethnic minorities on staff, but by those assuming senior positions of responsibility.

This is the fifth university I have worked in and there is no doubt many not only appoint similarly qualified white males over females and ethnic minorities, but in some cases those who are less qualified. There are always the appeals procedures, but effective equal opportunities policies are preferable. We all know that many institutions are high on rhetoric but rather less impressive on practice. Yet there are clear benefits.

Jesse Jackson once said that excellence is what is needed to challenge racism (and sexism).

Institutions at the top of the league table on female/ethnic minority recruitment deserve to benefit because, apart from moral grounds, it makes good business sense.

Marie Parker-Jenkins, Professor of research in education University of Derby

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