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The Senior Leadership Team appointed four sponsors to act as equality champions across some key areas.
The University's sponsor for race is Andy Kent. It is his job to champion race equality at senior leadership team level and across the University. Andy is co-chair of the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team and Chair of the University's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.
Andy said, "I witnessed the impact of social inequalities during my 35-year career in the NHS. Working in higher education is an opportunity to do something positive about it rather than just treating the consequences. I am proud to be the University's sponsor for race and committed to making a positive impact on behalf of all staff and students in any way that I can.
I am the SLT lead for gender at Kingston, and my focus is on breaking down barriers to gender equality, increasing opportunity and challenging stereotypes in our own community. Gender - it's a short word behind which sits a vast array of inequalities, biases, stereotypes and, in extreme cases, violence throughout the world. During this year's International Women's Month, I was reflecting with some female friends on situations we have encountered during our lives, which happened because of attitudes to our gender. At the time they were normalised and accepted, and we now look back on them and, in most cases, we are able to laugh. We are optimistic that our own children won't encounter the same situations, but it is important to recognise that while progress has been made, we should be aware of where further support, challenge and education are required.
Kingston university has given me the necessary support and commitment to see me successfully progress my career into senior roles in finance, a sector that is often still male dominated. I believe Kingston is a progressive employer, however there is more that all of us can do to promote gender equality through our actions and through education. We all have a role to play.
As SLT sponsor for Disability, I hope to be able to establish ways in which staff can help the university understand and remove some of the barriers that may be encountered in the workplace for people with a disability across all levels of employment.
There are many assumptions made about disability and often unrecognised obstacles placed in the way, limiting and preventing people from fulfilling their aspirations. As a community, we support inclusivity and are keenly aware of how we support disabled students - it's equally as important to have space to discuss whole community needs and the drive to act to provide equity of opportunity and reward.
As the LGBTQ+ network sponsor, I am also delighted to be the sponsor for sexual orientation and gender identity. As an ally there is much that I still need to learn but I am determined to help make the University a place where people can feel safe to talk openly, should they wish, about how they identify, who they love and their lives outside work. The diversity of human life and love is something to be celebrated and I hope I can help make this an inclusive and vibrant place to work.
We have made a lot of progress in recent years in the UK as a society in recognising human rights in relation to sexual orientation and gender reassignment but there is much more for us to do to really include, celebrate and explore the full range of human expression, families and identities.