Equality, diversity and inclusion in CREDS – our first report

16 June, 2020

Sarah Higginson

Reading time: 3 minutes

As we publish our equality, diversity and inclusion report, Sarah Higginson reflects on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on women in academia.

As we start to navigate our way out of lockdown, the impacts for all of us are becoming clearer. While much of the work at CREDS has been able to continue, this has sometimes taken a personal toll. We have been especially aware of the difficulties experienced by female academics as they’ve tried to balance the different roles in their lives.

One of our researchers, Gesche Huebner, reflected on this in a poignant blog about how it felt to be an academic mum during lockdown. We are also aware of, and concerned about, the fact that the number of women publishing papers during lockdown has fallen significantly during this period.

In the midst of the unusual days in which we find ourselves, CREDS has continued its work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in various ways. Today we are publishing a report partly based on a survey of the institutions involved in CREDS, focusing mostly on the amount of attention paid to EDI issues in their recruitment and induction practices. The report also outlines current progress against the CREDS EDI strategy.

The main issues arising in today’s report include:

  • Recruitment and induction practices relating to EDI, where the institutions involved in CREDS would appear to have some work to do and it becomes clear that we need to pay more attention to internal redeployment.
  • Issues relating to career progression
    • The most significant of these, from a financial point of view, was the Early Career Researcher Flexible Fund Call, which is now almost complete after a year of hard work. The results, and a comprehensive evaluation of the call and its process, with a particular focus on EDI, are published on the website on 23 June 2020.
    • Also important, is the programme of support for ECRs that we put together in October 2019. This has been delayed by CV-19 but a comprehensive programme of capacity building within CREDS, as well as external engagement outwith CREDS, is planned.
  • How we treat EDI in the way we communicate and promote CREDS work, covering a range of issues from how we manage images on the website, to how we monitor the gender mix of panels, speakers and other contributors to CREDS.

The EDI group will be meeting before the summer to reflect on the recommendations of the report and what actions should be taken, including reflecting on whether we recommend EDI induction processes be followed after internal redeployment.

It must also be said that it feels like we live in a totally different world from the one in which the report was written mere months ago and work is already going on to follow it up. As a result, this week, at our online whole centre meeting, the whole consortium will be reflecting on EDI issues and how they impact on individuals, by participating in a survey, the results of which will be published in the months ahead and will complement the report published today.

Banner photo credit: Hannah Busing on Unsplash