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Equality Objectives 2020 - 2024

Our equality objectives help us to strengthen existing initiatives and align with actions planned to tackle inequalities and build diversity and inclusion across the university. Our objectives are to: 

Address gender inequality 

  • To tackle discipline-specific gender imbalances in student and staff groups through recruitment and retention while supporting the career progression of female academic and professional staff. This includes reducing the gender pay gap and ensuring better representation in key areas of governance. 

Attract and retain a diverse community of staff and students 

  • To improve the participation and attainment rates of students from disadvantaged groups, specifically those from Lower Participation Neighbourhoods, and underrepresented groups, specifically UK BAME students
  • To make a significant and consistent improvement in the recruitment, support, and progression of BAME academic and professional staff through targeted response to identified barriers
  • To ensure the support and inclusion of disabled staff and students. 

Embed a culture of respect and inclusivity 

  • To ensure a learning, teaching, and research environment which is accessible, inclusive, and respectful where all staff and students have the support and opportunities to be the best that they can be. 

What are Equality objectives? 

The University is subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty which requires public bodies to have 'due regard' to: 

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it, and 
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it. 

Part of this duty is the review and publication of institutional equality objectives every four years. This provides the opportunity to link the equality, diversity, and inclusion actions that are underway at different levels at the University and establish priorities to guide a whole-system approach that resonates with the institutional values of being challenging, responsible, and enabling. 

Strategic context 

The objectives challenge the organisation to perform better on equality issues in key areas and improve the experience of people from underrepresented groups. Priorities reflect the needs of staff and students and support the strategic plans of the University. The objectives are based on robust evidence, and rendered measurable over time, to mitigate risk, map changes, and support action. 

The objectives, alongside broadened metrics, have been developed according to evidence drawn from ongoing EDI work within the university, a review of key equality issues across UK higher education institutions and an analysis of Durham specific inequalities and contextual factors. They relate to specific areas of inequality, and a broader commitment to embedding equality and developing a culture of respect. 

The metrics associated with the objectives outlined below incorporate reflections on the impact of Covid-19 and insights from Durham University community responses to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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