Equality and Diversity

How we value equality and diversity:

The RSE values equality and diversity. Our differences enrich us as an organisation enabling us to benefit from different perspectives and experiences and supporting better decision-making. We want to ensure that we fully value and recognise the contribution of all and celebrate and harness our differences. As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we place a great importance on being an equal opportunities employer, offering equality of opportunities, working practices and procedures for all staff. To ensure that becomes more than a simple statement of intent, the RSE has a diversity policy in place, and undertakes a series of actions to give effect to that policy. Our Diversity Policy can be accessed here.

We are also committed to ensuring equality of opportunity and outcome in the work that we do. Although RSE is not covered by the duties of the Public Sector Equality Duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 we are committed to equality and diversity and ensuring that our work contributes toward advancing equality of opportunity and supporting good relations between different groups.

This includes promoting equality and diversity for all irrespective of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins)
  • religion or belief
  • sex and sexual orientation
  • gender
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity

We will demonstrate our commitment by:

  • Ensuring that our staff and fellows are informed and aware of their individual responsibilities to support diversity and inclusion
  • Ensuring that our working policies and practices accept and treat everyone fairly and that we respect and value differences
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and diversity within the communities in which we work
  • Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing activity to secure continuous improvement in all that we do
  • Offering an impartial platform, through our work, to bring together people from a variety of demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, countries and cultures
  • Taking steps to accelerate diversification of the Fellowship
  • Recognising Scotland’s at-risk academic and refugee community and the potential it has to make outstanding and meaningful contributions to the future prosperity of Scottish society.
  • Continuing our active member with the UK Academies Human Rights Committee, forming part of the International Human Rights Network

Statement on Slavery and Black Lives Matter

The RSE grieves for those who have lost their lives to all forms of injustice. Racism is an injustice with particularly pernicious effects. We are part of the international research community that shares these feelings of anger, grief and frustration. We are indebted to the Black Lives Matter movement for giving greater impetus to our existing work in engaging with, and understanding, those who experience discrimination in all its forms.

We are confident that, in our present day, we are committed to standing against injustice and standing for equality. The RSE has demonstrated this commitment over many years and most recently through our ongoing activities, including: our Young Academy of Scotland programme supporting at-risk academics and refugee professionals; our human rights work supporting academics-at-risk internationally as part of the UK Human Rights Committee; and the establishment of an RSE Africa Working Group for mutual exchange. Further, over the last 5 years, the RSE has hosted discussions on slavery, empire and colonialism. These include: the human rights lecture and roundtable by Dr Bertrand Ramcharan, former Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the lecture on slavery from the esteemed Ghanaian poet and academic, Professor Kofi Anydoho. These examples are underpinned by our core values and commitment to equality and diversity in all that we do on a daily basis. Nonetheless, it is clear that we can and must do more to ensure that our work does not contribute, unwittingly, to the perpetuation of structural inequalities and that we take a long look again at how we tell our history.

Whilst we are confident that there are past Fellows who pioneered and fought for justice for those who otherwise would not have had a voice, we must face our historical connections, direct and indirect, with the slave trade. There is a need for us to consider previous injustices, specifically acknowledging where the RSE had abolitionists and obstructionists amongst its past Fellows.

The RSE’s present is inextricably linked with its past. We shall, therefore, engage with relevant institutions and learn from scholars of slavery, including in the global south, to better understand our history with the objective that we learn from that past for the future wellbeing of all.

Black Lives Matter.