As gender intersects with race and ethnicity it is important to make visible the experiences of ethnic ‘Other’ women (Ratna and Samie, 2017). The intersection causes deep-rooted prejudice, discrimination and injustice that is evidenced within Higher Education for staff and students (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/sep/07/uk-university-professors-black-minority-ethnic;https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/universities-want-to-pretend-racism-is-not-happening-q3bd77www)
Last week, in the inaugural WAN Gender Research Seminar, Dr Hyun-Joo Lim and Dr Deborah Gabriel presented their published academic research that shows how political and societal structures, cultures and every-day practices produce inequalities for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women, and men.
A key concern, which was demonstrated through both of their long-term qualitative research projects, is that despite established policy and legislative frameworks ethnic ‘Other’ women continue to face unequal and unjust treatment. This is corroborated through statistics that reveal the quantities of inequality around the world (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/). However, both presenters argue that it is the lived experiences of BME women, and men, that must be made visible in order to properly reveal the subtle, and sometimes insidious, mechanisms of discrimination. Such a methodology enables deep and detailed knowledge that can produce change at a faster rate than at present. It is the intricacies within political and societal structures, cultures and practices that require our attention as academics, and scholars.
The seminar participants discussed the significance of the presented research – methodologies and empirical findings – as well as the reach of the research in terms of making a difference. Through sharing their work with students and staff at Bournemouth University, Dr Lim and Dr Gabriel connect research and pedagogy. We are better educated in the harsh realities women often experience. For example, the brutal human rights abuses faced by women who escape North Korea (https://theconversation.com/a-terrible-fate-awaits-north-korean-women-who-escape-to-china-82992), and the effects of a lack of critical conscious when it comes to white privilege within Higher Education in the UK. Education is the first step. The next steps involve activism and transformation of the status quo.
The seminar achieved three main aspects. First, it provided a critical forum to discuss frequently marginalised aspects of gender research – the intersections of race, ethnicity and gender. Second, it made explicit that official policy and legislation often mask contemporary inequalities and serve to present issues as no longer in need of scrutiny. Finally, that a focus on the personal and everyday is in order to theorise and implement change. Especially the adoption of a critical conscious by those with privilege and power (http://blackbritishacademics.co.uk/research/inside-the-ivory-tower/).
If you would like to present gendered-related research at the WAN Gender Research Seminar Series, please contact co-convenors:
Jayne Caudwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorraine Brown: LBrown@bournemouth.ac.uk
Francis Hawkhead: email@example.com