Oxford Law was one of the first law faculties in the UK to gain an Athena SWAN bronze award. In building on this success, we want to take further action on equality in relation to all protected characteristics, and have appointed an Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity, Nicholas Bamforth, who will take up the role in September 2020.
In support of this initiative, Allen & Overy has agreed to fund the Allen & Overy Equality and Diversity Administrator for the next three years. The objectives in our action plan are ambitious. We have identified inequalities in various areas which we are now seeking to close, for example, in pay, appointments, career progression and examination success. Tackling these issues requires us to gather and analyse large volumes of data, identify good practice in other institutions, develop our own plans and strategies, and subsequently evaluate them to assess whether they have worked. Under the direction of the Associate Dean, the new Allen & Overy Equality and Diversity Administrator will be instrumental in analysing data and organising events and activities.
We have already established new initiatives on Equality and Diversity which involve all members of our community from alumni to students, academics to prospective applicants. We have a long-standing commitment to encouraging talented students from all backgrounds to apply for our undergraduate degree, through schemes such as UNIQ and Freshfields’ funding of ExpLaw. Across the Faculty there have been and are workshops and seminars on topics such as intersectionality, unconscious bias, and diversifying the curriculum. We have also established an annual Equality Lecture, inaugurated in October 2019 and delivered on that occasion by Baroness Hale, then President of the UK Supreme Court. We are now developing targeted scholarships for BAME postgraduate students and we have a partnership with the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx) to bring a visiting scholar from Africa to Oxford each year. Our successful Oxford Women in Law (OWL) network for our alumni holds high-profile events on issues such as well-being and networking skills in partnership with our benefactors.