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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Geography Department Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Geography is committed to operating in a welcoming environment where we celebrate our differences and support each other as an equal and inclusive community. We nurture a departmental culture that respects the dignity of staff and students and helps all members in our community to achieve their full potential.

We have a departmental Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Committee with a diverse membership of academic, research, and technical staff and students who work together to ensure that best practices in EDI are implemented throughout the Department. EDI is embedded in all departmental meetings and working practices to ensure our objectives are widely known and understood so that actions can be taken to meet them. Committee minutes and EDI activities are reviewed at termly meetings. The Geography EDI committee encourages the setting up of local networks to support diversity within the Department and also encourages members of the Department to join centrally organised University diversity groups. The University has several networks that staff and students can join. These networks bring together employees and students from across the University, providing peer support, networking opportunities and social activities.

Recognising the value of equality, diversity and inclusion means coming to terms with the challenging legacies of the past, especially in the context of geography’s historical role as a discipline. The past can also be a source of inspiration as is clear from the history of Royal Holloway’s geography department, now a century old, which was founded and led by women for much of this period. Recent progress at Royal Holloway in tackling gender inequalities at staff level has contributed significantly to diversification and gender balance. Gender diversity (through our Athena Swan Silver award) is only one aspect of the challenge, as our objectives are intersectional (addressing race, sexuality, disability etc). We recognise the unwritten hierarchies of academia and want to empower the voices of all staff and students in the Department to advance their careers and safely advocate for change.

We are committed to nurturing Early Career Researchers, including PDRAs and new lecturers, helping them to create their own opportunities. It’s now a well-documented problem at national level that Geography has low Black Global Majority (BGM) student and staff diversity. We are committed to engaging more broadly with society, diversifying our recruitment at all levels, and ensuring a safe and empowering environment for our students and staff. We recognise that much remains to be done and we are committed to that positive action. Where we lack the power to directly change policy, we will advocate for that change with the University and at the level of funders and the government. We are committed to this as individuals and as a department. We also work with subject associations (for example the Royal Geographical Society with the IBG and the Geographical Association) to advance EDI principles across the discipline of geography. The Department is working with the RGS-IBG and other institutions to address the historic under-representation of ethnic minorities in the student population.

As a Department we have a set of EDI principles that guide our teaching, research and other work. These principles are designed to ensure that we become a more equal, diverse and inclusive place to study and work. We aim to learn from the students and staff that work in our department, and we welcome ideas and suggestions on how to make the Department more inclusive. We are implementing EDI principles in our work and relationships within the Department. See some of the examples on our activities.

Equality, diversity and inclusion awareness and training

Royal Holloway offers Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training to staff. You can find further information on EDI training available on these pages. You can also access a selection of resources, including videos on microaggressions and intersectionality.

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