Personal responsibility and action

As a public body, the University is required, in all areas of its policies, practices, procedures and services, to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not;
  • Foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

We can only do this if all members of the University community take responsibility for advancing equality and diversity.

Increase your awareness

All members of the University must comply with the University’s Equality Policy and Harassment Policy. You are encouraged to read these and familiarise yourself with what is expected of you.

The policy and legislation section of this website gives more information about the UK Equality Act and what the University must do to comply with it.

The University offers training courses to help you develop your knowledge of E&D:

You can build your awareness of equality and diversity generally, and of what the University and individual departments are doing by browsing these pages. Look out for the EDU’s termly newsletter, or sign up to the Oxford Women’s Newsletter or Race Equality Newsletter for regular updates about events, resources, news and achievements. (We always welcome items for inclusion!)

Also find out about what’s going on in your own department and whether it has an E&D committee. For example, all departments in MPLS and MSD have made commitments to gender equality in their Athena SWAN action plans.

‘All members of the university community are expected to … treat colleagues with respect at all times.’

University of Oxford Equality Policy

Integrate E&D into your work

If you are developing or revising a significant policy or practice, or carrying out a project, we encourage you to think about equality in a more systematic way and carry out an equality analysis. There is guidance on how to do this on this website or contact Sara Smith for further advice.

There is further advice in the inclusive workplace section of this website. Our Athena SWAN action plans are a good source of ideas for practical things you might do.

Make your voice heard

Decision-making is most effective when diverse opinions are heard and taken into account. Take advantage of opportunities to contribute to debates. Respond to any surveys or participate in focus groups run by your department or the University and give your personal experience of issues that affect you. In department Athena SWAN surveys, for example, colleagues have raised their concerns about issues such as the timing of meetings clashing with childcare responsibilities, and departments have taken steps to address issues - often ones that they were unaware of. Any consultations run by the University are advertised on the staff communications pages.

There are also opportunities to directly influence decisions by joining a committee or working group. Some departments have specific equality and diversity bodies and all general committees will benefit from diverse membership. Find out the management structure in your department and how you can get involved.

We all have a role to play in speaking out against behaviour or practices which may be unfair or highlighting where there is an opportunity to do more to promote equality.

Virtual Staff Advisory Group

All members of staff are invited to join our virtual staff advisory group which gives everyone the opportunity to have their say on key issues that may impact on equality and diversity within the University.

Taking part is very easy and won’t take up more than a few minutes of your time. We circulate brief surveys via WebLearn once a term or so. Feedback will be added to that received from other sources to highlight areas where we need to engage more with staff or to bring forward proposals for change.

If you would like to join the mailing list email Sara Smith.

Engage with others

Joining a University equality network is a good way of meeting others with a shared background or interests to share experiences and ask for advice. They may also offer access to talks and training, and be invited to feed into decision-making processes.

You can share your experience with others by volunteering to train as a mentor, or to take part in outreach activities. Don’t underestimate the value of visible role models in encouraging diversity.

If you are a member of an academic or professional network, encourage them to debate equality issues and share good practice.