Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within NDM
“Now, perhaps more than ever, higher education is being challenged to become accessible, inclusive and representative of the society we live in. The voices calling for change are many and strong, the opportunities, energy and urgency likewise.”
Source: Advance HE, December 2020
WHAT IS EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION (EDI)?
Equality is essentially about equal opportunity. By embracing this concept we are working to ensure that individuals, or groups of individuals, are not treated less favourably due to their background or characteristics. Equity acknowledges that different individuals may have different barriers to success and that work needs to be undertaken to limit or eliminate those barriers, treating people differently depending on their needs in order to promote fairness. Every person, regardless of their background or characteristics, should be able to fulfil their potential at work.
Diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing each individuals’ differences and the unique perspective they can bring.
An inclusive culture will ensure that individuals feel safe, valued and accepted with a sense of belonging. Inclusion respects and values diversity of characteristics and inclusion is essential to ensure the benefits of a diverse workforce are maximised.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
There is a basic moral case for equality, in that it is a fundamental human right to be treated fairly, with respect and dignity. Backing this is a legal framework, in the form of the Equality Act 2010. The strength of the business case for equality and inclusion can not be understated, with a plethora of research to back it. For example, research suggests that places of work that have diverse leadership within an inclusive environment tend to make better decisions. Bringing different experiences, knowledge and diversity of thought to an issue, project or task often results in improved creativity and a better solution. If your staff are represented and feel they have a voice, they feel valued and engaged and the potential for improved productivity is enhanced. Increasingly, employers recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion in recruiting and retaining the skills and talent they need to obtain/retain competitive edge. For an evidence review, you may wish to view Diversity and Inclusion at Work: Facing up to the business case (June 2018), provided by the CIPD.
THE CURRENT CONTEXT OF EDI
Going beyond the obvious moral imperative and business case to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), there is an increasing expectation from funders, members of NDM and society at large, to increase efforts to ensure equality and diversity in a culture that is truly inclusive. This agenda has gained prominence and urgency with the momentum of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased introspection that has been sparked at individual, institutional and community levels.
UNIVERSITY EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY UNIT
The University of Oxford Equality and Diversity Unit provide information about networks, activities, projects and work streams, Equality and Diversity governance structures, guidance, resources and support mechanisms that may be of interest to you, and the EDU website is a valuable source of information and support.
YOUR FEEDBACK MATTERS
Through our EDI work streams and the implementation of initiatives, we have made progress, but there is more we can do to promote and accelerate change. We need your help to make that happen. We would encourage all staff to complete the University Staff Experience Surveys and students to complete the NDM Student Surveys, as they provide us with valuable data to identify where we can make improvements, what initiatives may be developed, and measure the success of actions taken.
We would like to develop a core set of priorities for focus over the next few years, and would like your involvement in the identification and prioritisation of key issues. As well as using the survey data feedback, we would like to invite all members of NDM to please follow the link below to provide feedback on where you feel we need to focus and share ideas on what action you think could really work.