Professor Claudine Bowyer-Crane marks International Women's Day 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Professor Claudine Bowyer-Crane invited academic and professional services colleagues in the School of Education to discuss what this year's theme, Inspire Inclusion, means to them.

Poster for International women's day depicting women and men of all nationalities making a heart sign with their hands

The brief interviews are featured in the School of Education blog Research Matters which you can read here. Claudine was inspired by the interviews to produce some key points and recommendations for policy in higher education (HE), as follows around these six areas.

Inclusive Practices for Neurodiversity and Gender Equality

- Acknowledge and accept neurodiversity by recognising both strengths and challenges.

- Avoid minimising neurodiversity experiences by refraining from over-relating or using dismissive comments like 'I’m a bit forgetful too.'

- Ensure that feedback mechanisms are in place and utilised to understand the needs of students and staff.

- Treat everyone with respect and engage actively to create a supportive environment.

Support for Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality

- Review and streamline administrative processes to reduce additional burdens on early and mid-career women.

- Increase transparency about domestic duties and acknowledge the complexities of balancing caregiving responsibilities with academic careers.

- Implement flexible work arrangements and parental leave policies to support female academics.

Promoting Gender Diversity and Inclusion

- Implement targeted hiring practices to address underrepresentation of women and promote diversity.

- Create a supportive culture that acknowledges and respects diverse experiences, including the intersectionality of gender with other identities.

- Encourage male colleagues and allies to actively support gender diversity by advocating for inclusive practices and actively engaging in inclusion efforts.

Celebrating Professional Services Achievements

- Increase visibility and recognition of the achievements of professional services staff within the university community.

- Foster a respectful and inclusive environment where all staff feel valued and empowered to contribute.

Early Intervention and Support for Inclusion

- Start promoting inclusion and diversity awareness early in the educational pipeline to create a more equitable representation in academia.

- Provide support and scaffolding to maintain an inclusive culture within universities, including mentorship programs and pathways to promotion.

Male Allies in Creating Inclusive Environments

- Encourage male colleagues to actively engage in inclusion efforts and incorporate diversity considerations into all aspects of academic activity.

- Promote allyship across different intersectional identities to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals.

In summary, to enhance inclusivity and support gender diversity in higher education, universities should prioritise implementing inclusive policies, fostering supportive environments, and actively engaging all members of the academic community in inclusion efforts. These recommendations aim to create a more equitable and welcoming environment for everyone.