Universities: Staff

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of (a) female and (b) BAME representation in top university positions.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Diversity and equality in higher education is a priority for this government. Higher education institutions are independent bodies and responsible for decisions about who they employ. Like every employer they must ensure they meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

Important progress has been made on the number of women in leadership roles in higher education, particularly in the increase in the proportion of female Chairs of Governing Bodies and female Vice-Chancellors. Sector-led gender initiatives, such as the Athena SWAN Charter and the Aurora development scheme, demonstrate the importance the sector attaches to tackling the barriers that hinder women’s progression in higher education careers.

On 1 February, the government announced measures to tackle ethnic disparities in higher education including encouraging higher education providers to make use of tools such as the Race at Work Charter and the Race Equality Charter to drive forward a step-change in the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority employees.

The government has also consulted on ethnicity pay reporting in order to inform future government policy.

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