Despite the appearance of great strides forward; discrimination, inequality, and exclusion persist in developed societies and workplaces. The nature of that persistence – and the manner in which discrimination has, in many cases, become more insidious – was the subject of the 2015 annual lecture from QMUL’s Centre for Research in Equality and Diversity.
28 April 2015
The lecture, entitled Diversity Education for Change, was delivered on 23 May by Myrtle P. Bell, Professor of Management at the University of Texas at Arlington, and renowned diversity scholar in the field of human resource management.
To an audience of academics, HR and diversity managers, consultants and government officials, Professor Bell said:
“If a person is seeking a job at a restaurant, their race might be used to determine whether they get a front-of-house job or a back-of-house job. It may even determine whether they should get a job at all.
“Research from the US has found that if you have a black sounding name, you have to send 50 per cent more resumes to get a positive response than an equally qualified person with a white sounding name. Most troubling of all, the research found that having a white sounding name was – for a black person – equivalent to having an additional eight years of employment experience.”
Professor Bell also spoke about sex as a surface level characteristic that persists as a discriminatory factor in terms of hiring and placement decisions for low-skilled work.
“Imagine a person is looking for a job at a hotel. One might use their sex to determine whether this person gets a house-keeping job, or a valet job. These decisions affect the wage gap. A house-keeper cleans a lot of toilets; gets no tips. A valet – almost in exchange for releasing your luggage – gets a lot of tips. Why does this housekeeper have to be a housekeeper? If she can push a heavy vacuum cleaner, she can easily pull a piece of luggage. It’s not related to strength, but the way we think about men and women – we still think about them very, very differently.”
Professor Bell said that while much valuable work has been done in the United States and Europe, there remains much to do if we are to eradicate racism.
“Get your diversity hats on, look around you at what’s happening, observe, and work for change.”
Professor Geraldine Healy, director of the QMUL Centre for Research in Equality and Diversity, Professor Bell’s lecture was a “timely and inspiring reminder about how much work remains to be done in this area.”
An international workshop, hosted by Ahu Tatli, continued the programme of CRED anniversary events. Speakers included Professor Bridget Anderson (COMPAS, University of Oxford), Professor Myrtle Bell, Professor Harriet Bradley (Universities of Bristol and UWE), Dr Cecile Guillaume (Universities of Lille and QMUL) and Dr Eddie Ng (Universities of Toulouse and Dalhousie). The theme was the persistence of inequalities and included a session on ‘what’s to be done’.
For media information, contact:Paul Jordan