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Ethnicity and Employability

Minorities in Academia:

Academia is a place of new discovery, enrichment of individuals in the development of new ideas. However, it is important to acknowledge that entering academia, let alone thriving or succeeding within this space is not always equitable for everyone. Particularly, for individuals from a minority background, who may often face challenges and barriers, such as; a lack of support, microaggressions, and discrimination in the pursuit of academic excellence.

Academia thrives with the inclusion of diversity from those of different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. When an institution embraces diversity, new insights and discoveries may emerge. Yet, despite the undeniable value of diversity, minority individuals continue to be underrepresented in academic institutions and face hurdles that impede their progress.

It is important not to recognise the challenges faced by minorities in academia, but it is essential to actively cultivate inclusive environments that embrace and empower diversity. Throughout this section, we will examine the challenges faced by minorities in academia ranging from implicit biases to how an inclusive academic culture can be fostered.

By recognising the value of diversity, addressing systemic barriers, and fostering inclusive practices, we can work towards a future where all individuals have an equal opportunity to excel and contribute their unique perspectives to the world of academia.

Diversity and representation:

Diversity and representation refer to the inclusivity of individuals of different backgrounds regarding their ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and cultural diversity. By embracing individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, academia can become further developed with knowledge and ideas. Diversity challenges stereotypes and unconscious biases and strengthens the sense of community within the workplace. With a number of additional benefits including having a wide range of perspectives, innovation, enhanced learning and teaching, addressing complexities in societal challenges, cultural competence and inclusion.

Diversity strategies and objectives should include the promotion of dignity, respect and inclusion. Institutions such as universities should not only focus on meeting quotas or racial equality targets but listen and acknowledge the lived experiences of students.

This can be achieved by cultivating inclusive environments, having success stories and open [KB1] discussions about challenges that are faced.

· Cultivating inclusive environments

· Success stories

· Challenges faced

It is known that minority individuals in academia often encounter a range of challenges that may hinder their progress and success. There are many obstacles they face including: systemic barriers, implicit bias, microaggressions, stereotypes, lack of access to resources and underrepresentation.

Underrepresentation in Senior Roles and Positions:

Minority individuals are often underrepresented in leadership positions within academic institutions. The lack of representation limits the diversity of perspectives and lived experiences when involved in policy-making and decision-making. It is advocated that senior roles and positions should also reflect the wider population and roles lower.

This has many positive implications, such as, raising the aspirations of those from a BIPOC or marginalised group to reach for these senior roles and positions. Advocating for a more inclusive representation in senior positions is vital, as these roles should mirror the wider population. The potential outcomes of such inclusivity are far-reaching. One of its significant benefits is that it inspires individuals from BAME, BIPOC and/or marginalised backgrounds to aspire to these senior roles in academia. Furthermore, having faculty members who share similar experiences or even look similar to yourself can challenge perceptions surrounding minorities in academia.

The current disparity in minorities in academia is shocking. In 2017, statistics revealed that Black university lecturers were a mere 1.8% of the teaching population, with 6% being Asian and 90% being British. Overlooking racial diversity, especially at the professorial and senior levels, potentially perpetuates a sense of invisibility felt by individuals during their time in higher education.

Call to action

Questions to ask:

· Is this an issue with diversity and representation at this university?

· Does our staff represent the wider and general population?

· How is the institution addressing issues related to microaggressions or discriminatory behaviours within academia?

· Are there mechanisms in place to support and mentor minority students and early-career academics?

· What strategies are being employed to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus environment for minority individuals?

· What resources are available for reporting instances of discrimination, bias, or harassment within academia?

· Are there any existing initiatives or programs in place to promote diversity and inclusion in academic positions?

Resources and support:  

· 10000 Black Interns 10,000 Black Interns (

· Black Mental Health Matters Black Mental Health Matters (@blackmentalhealthmatters_) • Instagram photos and videos

· Black Minds Matter Black Minds Matter UK

· Bridging Barriers Mentorship Scheme Bridging Barriers

· Inclusive Graduates Inclusive Graduates (

· Samaritans Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen

· Student Minds Student Minds - Home

· Taraki Taraki - Mental Health in Punjabi Communities

· The Athena Swan Charter Athena Swan Charter | Advance HE (

· The Black British Academics Network Black British Academics

· The Black, African and Adian Therapy Network The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network – We support and encourage people of Black African, Asian and Caribbean heritage to engage proactively and consciously in their psychological lives (

· The British Council Scholarships Scholarships and funding | Study UK (

· The Muslim Women’s Network UK Muslim Women Network (

· The muslim youth helpline Home - Muslim Youth Helpline (

· The Salam Project Youth Workshops, Mentoring & Tutoring | The Salam Project CIC

· The Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship | Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship | Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

· The UK Council for International Student Affairs UKCISA - international student advice and guidance - Studying in the UK?

· The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) UKRI – UK Research and Innovation

· Warwick Wellbeing Support Services Wellbeing Support Services (

Check out the Department's Research and Development page which has a specific video about minorities in academia!