This is a very difficult read because of the anger* in it, but a very good one:
I haven’t read the article yet but I agree that there’s much more to diversity and it’s a problem I feel in that despite implying that I’m ‘oppressed’ or something because I’m a woman in actual fact I know I’m incredibly privileged. I went to a private (well, Independent to get all technical) girls school from the age of 10 where I was taught that I could do whatever I wanted. I got an excellent education, had parents who cared and took me (and my sister) to museums, zoos, the theatre (not often but a few times and always to the panto), foreign countries and so on. I’ve got a university education, paid for largely by my mum and I’ve always known I’ve got a home to come back to should things go badly for me with a mother who loves me. And yet things have still felt like a struggle. How it would be to have to try and do that with parents who don’t give a shit and kick you out at 18 I really don’t know. In the western world I’d almost go so far as to say that poverty (and by extension social class) is a bigger barrier than sex. I know that women are still disadvantaged in relation to men of the same class but I honestly don’t know how my life could have been ‘improved’ by having been born male yet I can clearly see how it could have been much harder if I’d been born to poorer or less interested parents.
Just to add to Fishnut’s post… I feel privileged compared to the people I grew up around, because I went to university. My family were very poor though. I was terrified of going because I didn’t know how I would manage to afford it all.
I was lucky that I didn’t have to work whilst at university, my student loan covered everything I needed.
I actually didn’t find the article that angry, if I am honest. It’s a statement of fact really. David Willetts, scourge of HE in the UK, made the point that the greatest beneficiaries of the university expansion in 1980s UK were middle class women - and that’s the only thing he’s ever said that I agree with, to my knowledge.
It’s a conflict within the AthenaSWAN movement too - should you add race equality the Athena agenda or not? I bit of surfing has revealed that the Equality Challenge Unit is starting a racial equality charter mark too http://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/facing-the-taboo-of-race-discr/4586702221
it may work better if it is separate from Athena? I don’t know - it is a difficult issue. Academic friends who identify as LGBT have similar issues with marginalisation.
yeah. complicated. But personally, I think class and power transcend the label. if gender was not an issue, then something else would be. It’s about power.
I think there is something to be said for focus: Do one thing and do it well. But there’s also the fact that there are some things that can be done to take other -isms into account that aren’t all that difficult and so shouldn’t be ignored.
Well Said. Too many take for granted these days
This is an interesting piece on being LGBTQi in science. Some of the experiences show that an awful lot of people are really quite tone-deaf about, well, being polite to those who may be different from themselves.
GCHQ apologised for their ban on gay people. What I think is so noteworthy about this apology is that it is completely unequivocal and also notes that the ban hurt GCHQ (and by extension the whole country), thus recognising that increasing diversity is not just about being ‘politically correct’ but about getting the very best people you can get.
“Their suffering was our loss and it was the nation’s loss too because we cannot know what [those] who were dismissed would have gone on to do and achieve. We did not learn our lesson from Turing.”
A good piece highlighting a website, http://www.queerstem.org/, doing good work for LGBTQ people working in STEM.
Very interesting. Just posted to FB.
There’s been a couple of stories recently that highlight how getting an education is necessary but not always sufficient to break glass ceilings and how those who do not attend elite schools and universities are excluded from opportunities because they ‘don’t fit in’ to the culture of an organisation.
The first shows how getting scholarships to elite schools not only give kids the education to get into good universities but gives them the confidence to go to them because the culture is one they understand.
The second article explains how ‘subtle signs’ such as clothing choices can mean that candidates are rejected for jobs because they are used as cues that the person ‘won’t fit in’ to the culture of the organisation.
I think the articles are a really interesting pair because they show how ‘fitting in’ is really important, both to the person and to the organisation, and how the fear of not fitting in can both prevent a person from exploring an opportunity that they might otherwise benefit from and can prevent an organisation from taking a good candidate.
The personal fear is hard to counter but outreach and making an effort to increase the diversity of staff can help organisations seem more appealing to those who are afraid. For organisations who hold their culture about the quality of their employees, well, they just need to get their head out of their arses. Yes, ensuring that your employees work well together and represent your company to clients is important but that doesn’t mean everyone has to have the same background and by restricting your pool of employees to that background is preventing you from accessing a great deal of talent. I’m sure clients would prefer the best people to be working for them, rather than the guy who knew which shoes to wear with what suit.
Why do so many Muslim women find it hard to integrate in Britain?
This is a fascinating and rather sad piece looking at how Muslim women face discrimination in the UK.
The children living with facial disfigurements
Another sad piece but with some hope, describing the stigma that children with facial disfigurement face. The hope is that it seems pretty easy to change the views of ‘normal’ kids just by getting to know those with facial disfigurements.
Intersectionality is hot topic these days, but saying you’re all about intersectionality and actually living it are two very different things. These articles highlight how people screw it up,
The fact that they can’t say “not me!” doesn’t make the need to express “not me!” go away. The need is there, tugging at their ego like a high school handjob. Afterall, how will people know that they are an Ally with a capital A and a gift certificate to Famous Amos Cookies if they don’t make it clear they are NOT LIKE OTHER WHITE/STRAIGHT/CIS/ETC. PEOPLE???l”.
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9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist and More Accessible
I’ve noticed what the author has noticed, social justice groups have a tendency to turn into cliques reminiscent of the very worst excesses of school cliques. This piece gives some good guidance on how to prevent this from happening.
6 Signs Your Call-Out Isn’t Actually About Accountability
One of the signs of a group being a clique is the way they deal with calling people out. If it’s more about showing the moral superiority of the person doing the calling out then chances are it’s not about accountability.
It’s time to take the ‘great’ white men of science off their pedestals
How do we look objectively at the history of science? This is in response to an incredibly tone-deaf and irresponsible Nature editorial that claimed that getting rid of statues of controversial historical figures was ‘whitewashing’ history.
What Ole Miss Can Teach Universities About Grappling With Their Pasts
This is a great piece that tries to address the question above. The University of Mississippi has a chequered past but has taken to confronting it head-on rather than pretending that everything needs to be preserved in aspic.
Who are the 36 BAME people among the UK’s 1,000 most powerful?
Only a tiny handful of top UK leaders from the worlds of politics, media, finance and more are minority ethnic. This is who they are.