Published: 01 November 2022

Surrey Sociology Public Lecture for Black History Month - Understanding and Challenging Intersectional Inequalities for Black Women

On 19th October, the Department of Sociology held a Dialogues special event  focused on intersectional inequalities in education in celebration of Black History Month as part of our work towards Athena Swan accreditation.

Thanks to the generous contribution of the University of Surrey Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, we were able to assemble an impressive line-up of speakers: Dr Judith Bruce-Golding, currently a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, Dr Christine Callender, an Associate Professor at UCL Institute of Education, and our very own Dr Judith Ramdeo, from the Surrey Institute of Education. Janet Douglas-Gardner, Associate Professor at London Metropolitan University, acted as discussant.

Across their presentations and in the Q&A, the speakers brought together their research and personal experience in insightful ways. Dr Bruce-Golding reflected on her unusual path into academia, and the challenges that Black early career researchers face as they establish themselves in their chosen field. Stemming from her research with Black women teachers employed in state-funded schools across England and Wales, Dr Ramdeo presented the counter-narratives that her participants have developed so as to challenge normative stereotypes of Black women in the workplace. Finally, Dr Callender used the lens of stigma (Goffman 1963) and its impact on macro and micro-level interactions to highlight the complexities of black male educators as they establish, reinforce and maintain their professional identities within an educational system that welcomes them into the profession, yet simultaneously pushes them out at various levels of the career trajectory.

To make sure that as many people as possible could attend, the event was hybrid but thanks to Janet Douglas-Gardner the two audiences were equally able to interact meaningfully with the speakers and with one another, and an important conversation on how higher education can be made more mindful of intersectional inequalities and more open to all was started. Overall, the event was a success and an important milestone as we continue to work on our departmental submission to the Athena Swan scheme.


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