Welcome to our Summer Term Essex Business School Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) newsletter.

Our newsletters provide an opportunity to raise awareness of EDI related issues and keep staff posted on current developments and action on EDI in the School. This second issue of the newsletter features two blogs. One is by Professor Rashedur Chowdhury (Essex Business School) who draws on award winning work with Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo to discuss the White-dominated structure that exists in Western academia and the need to fight epistemic injustice, recognising the contributions being made by Black scholars. The second blog is by me, Maria Hudson, and shares some of the themes emerging from the recent Essex Business School (EBS) International Women’s Day (IWD) event that involved a panel of women discussing the topic of ‘Making Mentoring Work for Women’. The event prompted a lively discussion of the value of mentoring and exchange around experiences. It really helped to bring to the fore why mentoring matters. Mentoring is an area on which EBS is currently undertaking work and there will be an update on this in a future newsletter.  Our IWD event also marked the formal launch of the new EBS Women’s Working Group which aims to promote gender equality in the workplace by elevating women’s voices and raising awareness about challenges faced by women at work. A big thank you to the co-chairs of the Women’s Working Group and everyone else who helped to make our IWD event so special.

Did you know that all staff and student members of our EDI related working groups are members of an EDI Committee (as well as other people in roles pertinent to our EDI aims and activities). Bringing members of our EDI working groups together in this way helps raise awareness of what everyone is doing and why, supporting collaboration through exchange and exploration of synergy. The EDI Committee was initially formed in 2018 and is one way in which our commitment to equality and inclusion is embodied in the School’s structure and linked to strategic priorities. Equality and inclusion is also a standing agenda item in our monthly Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings. This provides me, as EBS Director of EDI, with an opportunity to update and consult SMT on our EDI efforts.

And here is a reminder of our EDI related Working Groups and a brief update on some of their recent/current activities:

Anti-racism Working Group (ARWG).

Please email Jacob Agyemang (jagyem@essex.ac.uk)  if you are interested in joining this group or finding out more about it.

The Essex End Everyday Racism project continues to run encouraging students and staff to share their experiences of racism.  So if you have a story that you want to share about racism linked to our Essex campuses and local area (your personal experience or witnessing it) you can access the online survey at: https://report.thewhistle.org/submit-report/essex. Further information about the project can be found at: https://www.essex.ac.uk/research-projects/essex-end-everyday-racism

And here is a link to a project video that also conveys key information about this important research.

Data collection for the Essex End Everyday Racism Project closes on Monday 1st July.

Athena Swan Implementation Working Group (ASIWG).

During Spring Term this working group met twice. An example of recent activities includes development of a research proposal seeking to gain insight into why female accounting and finance students choose to study at Essex Business School.  We are keen to engage with, and improve, gender parity in our student profiles and I am so pleased that two of the student members of ASIWG, Salma Penaloza (MSc Finance & Data Analytics) and Blessing Akpan (MSc HRM), are working with me on the research project.

If you are interested in joining ASIWG or want to find out more about its work, please do get in touch (mhudson@essex.ac.uk).

Decolonisation and Diversifying Business Education (DEBUG).

DEBUG working group held several meetings last term and reviewed Terms of Reference and Objectives of the group and  have developed some excellent Moodle resources and a web page. There are some new members to the group injecting new energy and the plan for the next few months is to engage more with people outside of the working group, discussing the relevance of decolonisation for their activities and signposting supporting resources. Further new DEBUG members are most welcome. The contact if you are interested in joining this group is Aylin Kunter (aylin.kunter@essex.ac.uk).

Women’s Working Group (WWG)

As well as having a launch event on International Women’s Day, during Spring Term the co-chairs of this new group have been developing terms of reference, including:

  • To be a focal point for women in the Essex Business School community;
  • Provide a supportive and secure space for women to share their experiences and challenges;
  • Organise regular events to raise awareness and promote the discussion of gender equality and issues that women face in the workplace (including childcare, fertility, menopause); and
  • Engage with female alumni of the Essex Business School.

The Women’s Working Group is open to all staff and students at Essex Business School. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact the co-chairs: Teresa Alvarez (talvarez@essex.ac.uk), Dr Anna Sarkisyan (asark@essex.ac.uk) and Dr Christina Ferreira (christina.ferreira@essex.ac.uk).

If you have an idea for a new working group, please do get in touch with me. If there is anything EDI related that you would like to discuss with me, including in confidence, as ever I encourage you to contact me. We can arrange a zoom or phone call or in-person meeting, whichever you prefer.

Upcoming events

Equality Café meeting, Wednesday 22nd May, 11:00 to 12:00 (online)

Beyond the campus - EDI issues in research

Led by Dr Danielle Tucker, EBS Director of Impact and Enterprise, this online session will discuss how our experience of research events such as academic conferences, or our ability to effectively conduct field work, engage in impact activities or work with external stakeholders may be affected by EDI issues. The inputs to this meeting will be fed back to our Athena Swan team, EDI and Research Committees to shape our discussion of how we can offer the best support to our research community. This event is for EBS staff and PGR students.

Equality Café meeting, Wednesday 12th June, 11:00 to 12:00 (online)

Caring and working: Unpacking the EDI issues

Facilitated by the EBS Women’s Working Group, this session will provide an opportunity for EBS staff and PGR students to discuss their experiences of trying to balance work and family life (often experienced as paid and unpaid ‘work’) and perceptions of support provided by EBS and the University. The inputs to this meeting will be fed back to our Athena Swan team and EDI Committee to shape our discussion of what we might be doing better to help improve the everyday lives of the students and staff in our community; and foster equitable experience and outcomes. This event is for EBS staff and PGR students.

Essex Business School Annual Equality Diversity and Inclusion Conference,

Monday 24th June, 09.45 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 14:45 (online)

This year’s conference will engage with a range of issues including student experiences of studying alongside paid/unpaid work, gender equity in accounting, neurodiversity, epistemic injustice and the Race Equality Charter.

Confirmed speakers

Vasile-Alexandru Berloi (EBS student)

Somya Bisaria (EBS student)

Hira Mumtaz (EBS student)

Dr Orthodoxia Kyriacou (Middlesex University)

Karen Bowlby (People & Culture, University of Essex)

Professor Rashedur Chowdury (EBS)

Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo (University College Dublin)

Elaine Brown (People & Culture, University of Essex)

If you have ideas for other EDI related events, please do get in touch.