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Inclusion Lead Update - March 2021

22 February 2021

Whilst we all look forward to Easter, and a well-deserved break from work, I want use this space to reflect on the past month, which has been difficult for many of us, particularly female-identifying staff.

International Women’s Day gave us the opportunity to celebrate women who have dared to challenge inequalities by calling out gender bias. The Padlet, which many of you contributed to, shone a light on women from across the worlds of academia, art, and journalism who inspire us to think differently and push for change.

It was, therefore, disheartening to see the mental health issues of Meghan Markle, a woman of colour, being trivialised on television the very same week, and then to follow the reports of the murder of Sarah Everard. Whilst the attack itself was horrific, the early media coverage was just as distressing, with its usual discourses of victim blaming. What eventually emerged was the frequency with which women face sexual harassment and gendered violence.

Sasha Roseneil, UCL’s Pro Vice-Provost (Equity and Inclusion) has written a thought-provoking piece about this, in relation to the shared pain and anger felt by female staff and students at UCL.

I want to re-iterate what Sasha says: support is available if you have found the events of the past month troubling and, as Inclusion Leads, we are here to signpost you to the help you can receive. As always, if colleagues have suggestions about ways we can make our working spaces or practices safer and more equitable please do get in touch.