Equality Scheme 2016 - 2020

The University of Birmingham was established on an equal opportunities ethos in 1900 to admit women and men of all religious backgrounds on equal terms. Today, that commitment to equality is still at the heart of our vision and mission as a modern, global university. We are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive learning and working environment, where equality is promoted, diversity is valued and discriminatory behaviour is not tolerated.

Our Equality Scheme for 2016-2020, 'Advancing Equality, Valuing Diversity' sets out how we will put these values into practice, our equality objectives for 2016-20 and the actions we will take to promote equality, prevent discrimination and promote greater understanding between different groups of people. In particular we need to take action to increase the diversity of our leadership and senior academic staff, increase ethnic diversity amongst our Professional Services staff and address student attainment gaps and completion rates. 

I am committed to ensuring that significant, measurable progress is made on these issues and that we remain fully receptive to long-term cultural change.

Professor Una Martin, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equalities


Equality Scheme themes and equality objectives

The Equality Scheme has been developed via an assessment of our achievements to date, benchmarking against good practice in the sector, data analysis and a staff and student survey which asked respondents to identify the one key change the University should make to improve equality. The University's equality objectives for the next four years were then developed from this evidence base and are grouped under four themes:

Inclusion: We provide an environment that is accessible, welcoming and safe

  • We are inclusive of and address the needs of our diverse community 
  • Accessibility is a key component of all campus developments
  • We have a zero tolerance culture in relation to discrimination and harassment 
  • We will host a vibrant programme of activities to underpin our equalities agenda

Attainment: Everyone can flourish and succeed to the best of their abilities

  • Student attainment gaps and differences in degree completion rates are reduced
  • We increase the proportion of women in senior academic posts 
  • We increase the proportion of BME staff in senior academic and Professional Services posts 

Flexibility: We support different ways of working and learning

  • Staff are supported to achieve their career objectives and manage their family and other responsibilities
  • Our delivery of teaching and learning recognises and supports the needs of students with caring and other responsibilities

Embedding: The active promotion of equality informs our culture and behaviour

  • Our diversity is reflected in our decision-making bodies
  • The promotion of equality and diversity is embedded at local level
  • Equality training supports individual staff development and institutional change
  • We effectively communicate our commitment to equality within the University and to our partners
  • Equality is an integral part of the mission of the University and enhances research and teaching activity 

The themes, objectives and the action we will take to develop them are further detailed in the full Equality Scheme 2016-2020.


Benchmarks and reporting

You can find out more about key projects and activities in the areas and themes pages. 

Key data from 2016 that will be used to measure our performance and against which we want to see significant improvements are:

  • Female Professors: 21% 
  • Female Senior Lecturer/Readers: 36%
  • BME Professional Services staff (grades 6-10): 13%
  • BME Senior staff (Professional Services grades 9/10, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors): 10%
  • BME student attainment gap: 11.2% (HESA data 2013/14)
  • Numbers of female and BME staff in leadership positions and on key decision-making committees

The Equality Executive Group will publish an annual report on progress against objectives at the end of each academic year, beginning 2016/17.