As an organisation, we have thought long and hard about our response to recent global events and the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We’ve reflected on our own journey as an organisation, our reason for being, our mission and our purpose.
In our formative years we always explicitly emphasised that we existed to support ‘women, particularly black women, into non-traditional areas of work’ but over time our language has changed and nowadays we often simply talk about how our organisation exists to ‘educate and up-skill women so that they can pursue professions in every sector and at every level.’
Whilst inequalities undoubtedly still exist for women as a group, we feel that it’s vital in this moment to re-acknowledge how both gender and race impact on the inequality Black women experience in society.
As an organisation, we are asking ourselves what more we must do to ensure that we strive for equity of opportunity for Black women and not just equality of opportunity.
We are currently assessing ourselves against our own values of Equality, Inspiration, Transformation and Independence, understanding that we have more to do to ensure we are truly living out these values for both staff and students.
We are proud of our already diverse student base, but as an outstanding education provider, we are examining how we can do more to recruit Black, Asian and ethnic minority students to learn with us. We recognise that we can do more to ensure high retention, achievement and success rates for these learners, and to provide real progression routes to higher education, senior positions and attractive careers. We are actively seeking out those partnerships and opportunities that will best enable us to redress the balance.
As an employer, we are looking to our own governance and leadership to ensure we recruit, promote and develop diverse role models onto our board and senior positions. We must ensure that we are leading by example, as we have done throughout our existence.
We’ve formed a new Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce which is working to ensure that we do more to tackle structural racism, accelerate opportunities and continue to spearhead initiatives that address the inequities faced by women, particularly Black Women, across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.
For Black History Month we have decided to celebrate by creating an online gallery that tells the stories of local black women who made a new world that enabled the next generation to thrive and speak up.