Being an activist

IPED striking picture blog

This is a personal reflection on being an activist as my picture illustrates. Recently I have been standing on the picket line in the UK with other university academics in the University and College Union (UCU). This action challenged proposed changes in pensions by universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which would substantially reduce younger colleagues’ retirement income. Taking part in the union activity reminded me of why I became an activist and why I continue to believe in collective actions in an increasingly individualistic social context.

While I have taken industrial action before, indeed in the financial industry on one memorable occasion I was the sole individual striking in my region according to the local regional newspaper. I was the branch representative but we were not the most militant branch! Even through in our region the effects were limited the national strike caused the senior management to take action, to investigate why strike action had been called. It was discovered it was linked to poor communication, and an unwillingness to listen by senior management with negative views not being carried forward to the executive team. A regular industrial relations problem. Consequently a social partnership arrangement was brought in that helped change improve industrial relations for this financial organisation.

I have continued to remain committed to collective action that was inspired by my childhood experiences. To this day my mother still talks about ‘the arrival of the biscuit tin’ when my father was seriously ill for several months with no income. In the 1960s there was no sick pay legislation and thus the arrival of his work mates with a biscuit full of cash donated by his unionised work colleagues meant we could buy food and pay bills. While today in the UK we have a raft of laws to help protect individuals working on the shop floor. We must never forget the collective efforts of many trade unionists to reach this point. We also must never be complacent, particularly post-brexit as laws can change or work conditions and patterns change.

While many people question why I should believe in collectivism and union activity. I still maintain it is easier for people to agitate for social change as part of a group than individually on their own and that employee relationship for many remains an unequal relationship. It this belief that underpins my activism. Over the years I have seen union activism change policy, whether this is sick pay, equal pay or just senior executive attention to work issues where there has been a misreading of their employees’ attitudes towards issues such as pensions.

What the recent action over pensions has done for me has energised my beliefs. The solidarity and camaraderie of the picket line with my work colleagues ( And also their dogs! The ‘bring your dog to the picket line’ was a huge success). The feeling that others too share my beliefs is important to keep going forward as an activist and also to help others younger members make the transition to become activists. Hopefully to keep important issues at the forefront of negotiations and challenging inequity and unfairness where it appears into future decades.

I do not believe that I am alone in being an activist and believing in collectivism and the importance of challenging inequality.

Thus I am inviting other activists to send in a picture of themselves as an activist to illustrate the diversity of female and union activism that exists in the UK and internationally that activists do not globally stand alone. Here is my picture Dr Susan Sayce.

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Statement of solidarity with university staff in the UK

University staff  across the UK are engaged in the largest industrial action ever seen by the sector, with escalating strike action and work to contract. Staff are striking to protect a defined benefit pension which guarantees a modest retirement income. Universities UK, the body which represents the employers, has insisted that a move towards defined contribution is necessary to save the USS (superannuation) pension scheme, although recent FOI requests & expert analysis suggest that the scheme is safe, and the employers simply want to move the pension liability to members of the scheme.
The board of IPED recognises that a fair pension is essential for a secure retirement and we stand in solidarity with those taking industrial action. Pensions are a gender issue, with women often facing a much smaller pension fund due to the gender pay gap and caring responsibilities. We ask that an intersectional analysis is undertaken of all proposals to save the USS scheme, to ensure that those already marginalised in higher education do not face further penalties in retirement. IPED is also aware that students are resisting efforts by the employers to position them as consumers in conflict with staff. The efforts by students to stand with their lecturers, librarians, administrators, researchers, IT specialists, who shape their university experience, is inspiring and we thank them for this.
The board of IPED stands in solidarity with striking university staff, and is hopeful that the forthcoming talks which will be mediated by ACAS (conciliation service), resolve  this dispute in an equitable way.
For more details see here https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss
Donate to the fighting fund, which will prioritise precarious workers https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund

PhD scholarship on gender, chronic illness and employment

Please see details of PhD scholarship at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK:

Understanding gender, chronic illness and employment: Developing strategies for an inclusive workplace.

Chronic illness remains under-researched within management studies, with extant research suggesting chronic health problems can negatively impact on quality of working life. Women’s health problems can carry additional stigma, with women often concealing their health problems. This PhD will examine the gendered experiences of chronic ill health for employees, identifying strategies for employer policies which are inclusive of those with chronic health problems. We anticipate a qualitative approach to understand the intersections of gender chronic illness, likely an interview-based approach with employees (to understand lived experiences of chronic illness and employment) and employers (to understand organisational policies and practices). (Potential supervisor: Professor Kate Sang and Dr James Richards)

Click here for more details.

Special Issue CfP Intersectional and Cultural Aspects of Schools Related Gender-based Violence in Europe

Intersectional and Cultural Aspects of Schools Related Gender-based Violence in Europe:  

Guest Editorial team for International Perspectives to Equality and Diversity (IPED)

Dr Maria Tsouroufli, Reader in Women and Gender, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Dr Heidi Siller, Researcher at the Medical University Innsbruck, Gender Medicine Unit, Austria

Dr Angela Morgan, Senior Researcher and Lead of the Violence against Women and Girls Research Cluster, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Dr Karlie Stonard, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Dorottyia Redai, Researcher and Visiting Lecturer Gender Studies Department Central University of Budapest, Hungary

Dr Valentina Guerinni, Post-doctoral Assistant Gender and Education, University of Florence, Department of Education and Psychology, Italy

Gender equality remains a key target for the EU with current priority areas including equal economic independence, equality in decision making and dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence (Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality, 2015). There are many challenges and gaps that still need to be addressed as research shows that perceived gender roles and gender stereotyping are still causes of restricted life choices and key factors in gender violence (EIGE, 2013).

Terminology of gender and violence varies across cultural and social contexts. In this call we refer to schools related gender based violence (SRGBV) as acts of sexual, physical or psychological violence inflicted on children in and around schools because of stereotypes and roles or norms attributed to or expected of them because of their sex or gendered identity. The term also refers to the differences between girls’ and boys’ experience of and vulnerabilities to violence’ (Plan, 2018). Although the exact consequences of SRGBV for retention and achievement have not been established, it is widely recognised that SRGBV has negative implications for health and well-being, educational success and participation (Leach et al. 2014).

Research into SRGBV is still extremely limited outside of Sub‐Saharan Africa and to a lesser extent Northern Europe. However, very little research in Europe has explicitly addressed the gender dimensions of violence in schools, and bullying for example is often discussed in gender and race neutral terms (Ringrose and Renold, 2010). There is also little research as yet on SRGBV which goes beyond examining heterosexual forms of violence perpetrated mostly by male teachers and students on female students. Nevertheless, there is sufficient evidence to show that male students, female teachers, those who are identified as lesbian or gay, and those who are from minority groups or who suffer from physical or learning difficulties are also at risk.

Timeline

We invite scholars, practitioners and others to submit a paper of no more than 7,000 words to Dr Maria Tsouroufli at M.Tsouroufli@wlv.ac.uk by 31st January 2018. We would welcome traditional research papers as well as reflective pieces of work from different disciplines (Education, Feminist Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Health) and methodological approaches (qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method studies). All authors will receive feedback in April-May 2018 and final decisions about papers will be made in August 2018. Publication is scheduled for November 2018. Authors are expected to follow the IPED journal’s guidelines.

 

References

European Institute for Gender Equality, (EIGE, 2013), A study of collected narratives on gender perceptions in the 27 EU Member States

Plan (2008) The Global Campaign to End Violence in Schools, Woking: Plan Limited; Jones N. et al.

Ringrose, J. and Renold, E. (2010) Normative cruelties and gender deviants: the performative effects of bully discourses for girls and boys in school,  British Educational Research Journal, 36:4, 573-596, DOI: 10.1080/01411920903018117

SWD (2015) 278 final, Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019.

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Accessibility, Inclusion, and Diversity in Critical Event Studies

We invite researchers to submit articles for a special issue on the topic of Accessibility, Inclusion, and Diversity in Critical Events Studies, edited by Dr Rebecca Finkel (Queen Margaret University) and Dr Briony Sharp (University of Huddersfield).

The vision for this special issue is to feature contributions from critical events and interdisciplinary scholars. Papers should interweave theory, policy and/or practice, and be centred on at least one planned event/festival. Papers can focus on any size and type of event from festivals and conferences to community and international events. Empirical work which features creative research methods is especially welcome.

Possible Topics:

ñ Events/festivals causing polarisation between communities/stakeholders

ñ Understanding and potentially overcoming physical, mental, emotional barriers to events/festival access 

ñ Highlighting marginalised or under-represented communities in global events spaces

ñ Non-human and more-than-human access to events environments

ñ Social, cultural, economic, and digital inclusion/exclusion narratives

ñ Inclusion vs. justice — inclusion vs. equality in events contexts

ñ Governance and policies related to event/festival accessibility, inclusion, and diversity

ñ Role of media and social media in event/festival accessibility, inclusion, and diversity 

ñ Intersectional approaches to diversifying events/festival audiences and landscapes

ñ New critical perspectives for established events/festivals with regard to ethics, representation, responsible management

ñ Models of best practice and lessons learned with regard to event/festival accessibility, inclusion, and diversity

Please papers in accordance with IPED guidance by Friday, 15 Sept

We look forward to hearing about your work and possibly having you contribute to this exciting, emerging area! Please contact Rebecca Finkel for more details.

 

What can organisations do to help manage racism? ‘Buffering and diversity spillovers, the second-hand smoke effect’

Findings from a Seminar presented by Professor Belle Rose Ragins  at the Centre for Research in Equality and Diversity, Queen Mary University, London  on the 29th March 2017.

Belle Rose Ragins  is Professor of Management from Lubar Business School from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, USA. The emphasis in the seminar was exploring what can organisations positively do to limit the effects of subtle in-direct discrimination in their own organisations. It is this organisational focus exploring how organisations can support their diverse employees without dissolving this to the responsibility of the individual level that was refreshing to hear. It recognises that HR, senior managers and equal opportunities practitioners are all searching for organisational responses that can help combat racism. It was also relevant post Trump as issues around race appear to have risen again in the US and there has been a spike in hate crimes in the UK post-Brexit.

It is the points about ‘buffering and spillover’ based on Belle’s research that I am going to highlight here as this indicates how and why organisations themselves can take action.

So what does buffeting and spillover mean?  Starting with buffering this is linked to how racism can persist in organisations through unconscious micro-aggression comments and views, the subtle put downs such as ‘never seen black people do that’ or asking ‘why do you sound white’ or sitting further away from people of a different race. People are generally unaware that they are doing this but they are using stereotypes to judge you or look at you based on race. Research clearly indicates that when employees experience racism it can lead to increased stress and reduced mental and physical health (Schmitt et al 2014).  So Belle conducted psychological research to examine what could help regulate micro-aggression that many people experience in the workplace. Her central question was can mentoring help organisations combat racism?                    

 Her research published in Ragins et al (2016) suggests that mentoring can have a ‘buffering’ effect. In other words mentoring is triage, helping individuals to manage the effects of racism it is not an overall cure.  Key to this buffering is the need for a  high quality relationship between the mentor and mentee, which can help alleviate the effects of micro aggression. For example, it can provide holding behaviours for the mentee because the relationship can provide a safe space to discuss these issues, it can also offer new perspectives of how to deal with these issues or evaluate them without being judgemental, showing empathy to the mentee. However, it is the mentoring arrangement that is fundamental here whether formal or informal did not matter. However, her research evidenced that other relationships with colleagues and supervisors do not have the same buffering effect because they do not validate experience. The message to take away here is that many organsiations do have mentoring arrangements in the workplace so it could be useful for org EO practitioners, HR or senior managers in organisations to revisit their mentoring arrangements ensuring that there are of good quality and thereby helping to provide a buffer against the subtle putdowns that perpetuate racism in the workplace. This can then help combat the subtle effects of racism and the detrimental effect it can have on people’s health but also a detrimental effect on the work environment itself, which impacts on all employees.

The other theme that Belle introduced was the idea of ‘spillover’ (Ragins et al 2012). What Belle was arguing is that what happens in other domains such as the local community affect the workplace. Thus if there is an intolerant racist climate in the local community it will impinge on the workplace. Ideally a positive society contests changes in attitudes to racism such as ‘the not in our town’ campaign in the US. But if there is ‘white flight’ with white people moving out of a community when others groups move in (Pais et al 2009) or if the community becomes segregated this has implications for organisations located in these communities. What Belle highlights is there is a business case for organisations to get involved in community action. This case is linked to how climate matters both within and outside the community for job embeddedness and job attachment. If there is an intolerant racist climate it can both help/hinder organisational ability to retain talented workers of all races even if racism is not experienced in the workplace. Regardless of whether there is an inclusive climate at work, if workers are not happy in their community they will leave. Thus organisations too need to create opportunities for contact with the community and take a stand against the toxicity of racism because ultimately it affects companies’ turnover and retention of all their employees if employee attachment and embeddedness are reduced.   Thus there becomes a business case for community involvement that goes beyond social justice arguments, which may help persuade organisations of the importance of this type of involvement.

 Susan Sayce, University of East Anglia

References

Pais, J.F., South, S.J. and Crowder, K., 2009. White flight revisited: A multiethnic perspective on neighborhood out-migration. Population Research and Policy Review, 28(3), pp.321-346.

Ragins, B. R., Gonzalez, J. A., Ehrhardt, K. and Singh, R. (2012), Crossing the Threshold: The Spillover of Community Racial Diversity and Diversity Climate to the Workplace. Personnel Psychology, 65: 755–787.

Ragins, B.R., Ehrhardt, K., Lyness, K.S., Murphy, D.D. and Capman, J.F., 2016. Anchoring  Relationships  at  Work: High-quality mentors and other supportive work relationships as buffers to ambient racial discrimination  . Personnel Psychology.

Schmitt MT, Branscombe NR, Postmes T,Garcia A. (2014). The consequences of perceived discrimination for psychological well-being: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 921–948.

New research project: Developing whole school Gender Equality Charter Marks

Here Dr Maria Tsouroufli (Reader in Education, Convener of Educational Policy Research Cluster and Athena Swan Intersectionality Working group, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing M.Tsouroufli@wlv.ac.uk) shares news of her new project funded by the EU

‘Developing whole school Gender Equality Charter Marks in order to overcome gender stereotyping in education across Europe’

 

Overcoming gender stereotyping in education using a whole school approach to develop an environment that supports gender equality’, UST/2015/RGEN/AG/ROLE, Action grants to support transnational projects to promote good practices on gender roles and to overcome gender stereotypes in education, training and in the workplace RIGHTS, EQUALITY AND CITIZENSHIP/JUSTICE PROGRAMME (2014-2020), awarded 14th November 2016, €344,239.59

 

 

Project overview

This two and half year project will design and trial bespoke Gender Equality Charter Marks for secondary schools in UK, Hungary and Italy. Committing to this Charter Mark accreditation process will enable a school to measure progress in tackling the effects that gender stereotyping still has on pupils in relation to both subject (and career) choices and as a root cause of sexual harassment and gender based violence in schools and wider society. The Charter Mark process will address the whole school environment rather than focusing on particular subject choices (e.g. girls and science subjects). This builds on research evidence that shows the important impact of whole school policy, relationships, use of language and curriculum materials as well as curriculum design on subject and career choices.

 

The Gender Equality Charter Mark will have three levels of engagement: bronze, silver and gold.  To be awarded the Charter Mark at each level, schools will submit evidence of meeting criteria to a national assessment panel. The Charter Mark will support schools through this process by providing the following:

  • a baseline audit to assess current practice in school
  • targets and strategies/guidelines/steps/standards to implement change
  • criteria to assess submitted evidence from schools towards achieving the Charter Mark

The Charter Mark criteria, audit and materials for implementing change will be designed by a focus group of teachers and gender equality specialists. Once designed, this draft Charter Mark will be trialled for one year in three schools in each of the countries. This process will be monitored and feedback from this trial will be used to create a robust national Gender Equality Charter Mark in the UK, Hungary and Italy. The expectation is that following this trial these Charter Marks can be used as templates for other European countries.

 

The partners involved in this project are:

Development Education Centre South Yorkshire, UK

University of Wolverhampton, UK

Anthropolis Association, Hungary

Central European University Budapest, Hungary

Oxfam, Italy

University of Florence, Italy

 

The Development Education Centre South Yorkshire (DECSY) as the lead applicant has been working for 30 years with teachers and many others involved in education to promote a development and global perspective in the curriculum. It now has a national and international reputation for its training provision. The education staff are all accredited by SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education) as trainers in Philosophy for Children. DECSY aims to help and inspire people to develop the skills and commitment to work together to bring about a more just and sustainable world.

 

Dr Maria Tsouroufli, Reader in Education at the University of Wolverhampton, is a gender research specialist and research lead/coordinator for this European study. Dr Tsouroufli has an international research track record in researching gender inequalities in education and the professions. She has conducted research on gender stereotypes, gender and teacher-student interaction and gender discrimination in secondary, higher and medical education across different national and socio-cultural contexts including the UK and Greece. Her most recent work is concerned with the implications of neo-liberalism for gender and higher education pedagogies across Europe.

 

 

Anthropolis Association, Hungary

Anthropolis Anthropological Public Benefit Association (founded in 2002) is one of the most active Hungarian NGOs in the field of development education. Anthropolis is a board member of HAND Platform (Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid). Our work over the past decade has included:

  • publishing the first anthropological periodical in Hungary;
  • producing documentaries on minorities, migrants and the MDGs in East Africa;
  • organising media campaigns and awareness-raising festivals on global issues;
  • initiating a news portal on development (www.globalance.hu);
  • founding the Global Education Resource Centre (www.globedu.eu)
  • publishing lecture books for students (elementary and secondary)

regularly organising workshops for students; seminars for teachers and youth workers; and roundtable discussions among GE stakeholders.

 

In the last decade Anthropolis has been working together with more than 40 European non-governmental organisations in the field of education, culture, research and social work. We have built strategic partnerships with local communities, decision makers, universities, NGOs and educational development institutes.

 

Balázs Nagy works for Anthropolis Association as a project worker and trainer. He has an MA in psychology (gender studies). He delivers global education workshops and trainings for pupils, students and teachers. He is also a trainer of Digital storytelling.

 

Central European University Budapest, Hungary

 

Central European University Budapest, Hungary

 

Central European University is a graduate-level “crossroads” university with approximately 1,400 students and 370 faculty members from more than 130 countries coming to engage in interdisciplinary education, pursue advanced scholarship, and address some of society’s most vexing problems.

Founded in 1991 at a time when revolutionary changes were throwing off the rigid orthodoxies imposed on Central and Eastern Europe, CEU is based on the premise that human fallibility can be counterbalanced by the critical discussion of ideas and that this critical spirit can be sustained best in societies where citizens have the freedom to scrutinize competing theories and openly evaluate and change government policies.

It is accredited in both the United States and Hungary, and offers English-language Master’s and doctoral programs in the social sciences, the humanities, law, management and public policy. Located in the heart of Central Europe — Budapest, Hungary — CEU has developed a distinct academic and intellectual focus, combining the comparative study of the region’s historical, cultural, and social diversity with a global perspective on good governance, sustainable development and social transformation.

The Department of Gender Studies at CEU strives to meet the growing demand for expertise in gender issues by providing both Master’s and doctoral level programs in gender studies, as well as serving as a base for non-degree studies and other activities in the field. The department attracts students from a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities, and focuses on integrative and comparative approaches in gender studies. With an important, but not exclusive, focus on Central and Eastern Europe, both the Master’s and doctoral programs seek to contribute to the development of socially relevant knowledge based on these approaches, and to critically interrogate past and present developments related to gender in culture and society.

 

Dr. Dorottya Rédai received her PhD degree at the Department of Gender Studies at CEU in 2015. Her research field is the intersections of public education and the re/production social identity categories and inequalities. Currently she is working at CEU in an international gender studies course development project (GeSt), in an international project focusing on assessing gender equity in secondary schools (GECM), and as a visiting lecturer. Besides, she does freelance work as an expert and activist in public and higher education and in NGOs, in the fields of gender and education, sex education, human rights education and training, and discrimination and social exclusion against women and sexual minorities.

 

Oxfam, Italy

Global Citizenship Education

 

Oxfam Italia is an Italian Development NGO, non-profit association, full member of the International Confederation Oxfam, which has 18 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from injustice of poverty. Oxfam Italia staff include 77 employees, 276 project-based contracts in Italy and abroad and 822 volunteers.

 

In Italy and in Europe, Oxfam works in Global Citizenship Education, promoting social, economic and environmental justice, social inclusion and the fight against discrimination. In this context, Oxfam aims at strengthening and supporting responsible citizens who are committed to a just and sustainable world. Global Citizenship Education is an education that defends human rights and the environment, promotes responsible consumerism, nourishes respect for interculturalism and values diversity, that encourages gender equality, participation, co responsibility and a commitment to building a fairer and more sustainble society. http://edu.oxfam.it/en

 

The mission of the Education Office is to positively change the social, economic and political contexts that globally fuel poverty and injustice, fostering active citizenship based on a human rights and sustainable development approach.

 

 

Areta Sobieraj

 

Areta is OIT’s Head of Education and is responsible for developing, monitoring and evaluating educational projects. She’s an educator and international teacher/trainer trainer and has extensive experience in developing teaching and learning resources, training and consultancy for teaching staff and educators on issues focused on education for sustainability, active citizenship education, fair trade and human rights. She has a Masters in Education for Sustainability from South Bank University, London and has attended several courses on issues specifically related to the Sustainable Development Goals .

 

 

 

 

Alessia Martini

 

Alessia is a project manager, in the field of education. She has experience in the management of national and European projects financed by various donors. She has also experience in dissemination and exploitation activities. She has experience in project proposals writing, in the preparation and translation of documents and reports, organisation of events, workshosps, seminars and conferences with schools. She has a Masters in Development Economics from the University of Florence.

 

University of Florence, Italy

The University of Florence is one of the largest organizations for research and higher education in Italy with over 1900 tenured teaching staff and researchers, over 1600 permanent technical/administrative staff and language assistants and over 55 thousand students enrolled. The University consists of 24 departments. A large part of the yearly budget is allocated to scientific research. Recently, the University of Florence has been ranked top among Italian Universities for the distribution of national research funds.

The University of Florence is one of the largest and most productive public research systems in Italy.

Simonetta Ulivieri is a full professor of “General and Social Pedagogy” at the University of Florence, Department of Education and Psychology. She deals with Social History of Education and Pedagogy of Gender and Equal Opportunities. In particular, she focuses on

gender identity relating to “Pedagogy of the Difference”. At the moment, Simonetta Ulivieri is teaching “Pedagogy of Gender and Equal Opportunities” for the Master’s degree in “School Leadership and Clinic Pedagogy in schools and educational services”.

Raffaella Biagioli is Associate Professor in General and Social Pedagogy by the Department of Education Science and Psychology of the University of Florence. She is interested in the Pedagogy ofMarginality, Gender Pedagogy and Intercultural Pedagogy.

Irene Biemmi is Professor of Social Pedagogy at the same Department. Her areas of

research interest concern gender issues in the education sector with particular reference to critical analysis of teaching materials, teacher training and orientation. She edits the illustrated books series “Sottosopra” for the publisher EDT-Giralangolo (Turin), dedicated to eliminating gender stereotyping in childhood.

Valentina Guerrini’s research interests focus on gender differences and equal

opportunities in educational and professional field from an international perspective.

She’s a Professor of Human Sciences in Secondary Education.