2018 UHR Awards Shortlist Equality and Diversity



University of Edinburgh: The PlayFair Steps initiative

Winner in the Equality and Diversity category 




In the IT sector, men outnumber women by a ratio of more than 2:1. In a bid to diversify its workforce, the University of Edinburgh conducted a gender equality survey. This simple survey evolved into a full staff development programme which has increased the number of women in director roles by 300% in three years. 

The PlayFair Steps initiative explores how factors such as a person’s age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, background or sexual orientation affect their working experience at the University. It consists of a lecture series and an Equality Working Group, and is evaluated based on:

-        Data-driven decision making and reporting

-        Myth-busting

-        Staff engagement

-        Visibility and accountability 

The University invited 10 academics from fields such as gender studies, social policy and education to present and make recommendations to the Information Services Group. In addition, the working group was set up to give staff a chance to voice issues, and changes were made to the way the University promoted roles in order to make them more inviting and inclusive.

The initiative has also had a direct effect on policy internally. All staff involved in recruitment are now required to take part in unconscious bias training. Furthermore, between October 2016 and February 2017, more than 44.5% of staff have participated in some form of equality or diversity training.


Glasgow Caledonian University: Advancing gender equality

Runner Up in the Equality and Diversity category

When GCU analysed its internal data, it discovered that while 55% of its academics were female, they tended to be in more junior positions. It embarked on a project that would address this imbalance, tackle the gender pay gap, and encourage culture change.

It engaged with a wide range of staff to identify challenges, and established a steering group to analyse data. In addition, it pushed managers to develop their understanding of equality and diversity, introduced new recruitment and working processes, and supported 70 female staff through leadership training. It also worked with campus trade unions to undertake equal pay reviews.

It subsequently reduced its gender pay gap for academic staff from 8.2% in April 2015 to 4.2% in July 2017. Its overall gender pay gap tightened from 18.3% in 2013 to 14.5% in 2017. It also increased the number of female professors from 25% in 2012 to 40% in 2018.

In 2017/18, GCU was one of a handful of universities with a female Chancellor, Chair of Court, Vice Chair of Court and Vice Chancellor.


Aberystwyth University: All Our Trans Tomorrows

Shortlisted in the Equality and Diversity category

In November 2017, Aberystwyth University’s Equality and Diversity team launched the first in a series of conferences. All Our Trans Tomorrows is the first of its kind in Wales – an annual conference featuring keynote speeches and workshops from transgender activists and academics.

The conferences are free to delegates, and many attendees at the first event were primary and secondary school teachers and individuals working within social care. Delegates said that the University had provided valuable education and resources to help inform them about transgender issues. The event was also well attended by University staff and students.

A post-event survey revealed that 67% rated the conference as excellent, and another event is already being planned for October 2018.

All Our Trans Tomorrows is just one element of the University’s wider equality strategy. In the last two years, Aberystwyth University has risen more than 200 places in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. It has since been voted the 56th best employer in the UK for LGBT staff members in a field of 400.


For information on our other awards categories visit:

Business Effectiveness and Organisational Performance

Organisation Development and Culture Change

HR Excellence



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