Diversity and equality networks
Our diversity networks help to support and promote diversity and inclusion at Reading.
- BAME Network
- LGBTQIA+ Plus Network
- Parent and Family Network
- Staff Disability Plus Network
- Women's Springboard Network
If you are interested in starting a new network, contact the Diversity Team.
We are network of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues and allies at the University with a focus on:
- providing a supportive space for BAME colleagues to engage with one another
- supporting BAME career progression through targeted communications and programmes
- championing increased BAME representation on key University committees
- supporting the transition of new BAME colleagues into the University
- supporting BAME researchers during their research and work at the University
- contributing to the creation of a culturally inclusive University
Our co-chairs are Aleiah Potter (Marketing, Communication & Engagement) and Hong Yang (School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science).
If you are a BAME colleague interested in joining the network, please sign up through Microsoft Teams.
Launched in 2014, LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive staff support network for individuals identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and/or: other sexual and gender identities, such as asexual, non-binary, intersex or any others. This includes LGBTQIA+ people with multiple identities and covers all staff and PGR students based anywhere in the UK or Malaysia. The Network is supported by LGBTQIA+ Allies who are led by Michael Kilmister.
Our network has a social and representative function, ensuring that new and established members of staff and PGR students across the University feel supported by a visible and informal staff network.
Co-led by Ruvi Ziegler and Tahlia-Rose Virdee, we work closely with the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor.
We host a series of annual events for colleagues who identify as LGBTQIA+ and are involved in events for non-LGBTQIA+ colleagues which aim to raise awareness of issues affecting the community. We are inclusive of people with multiple identities and work with other staff diversity networks to collaborate on areas such as gender, race and disability.
We also work with the Harassment and HARC adviser teams to provide support and advice to staff who experience homophobic, biphobic or transphobic incidents. We wish to encourage a working environment where colleagues and PGR students can feel safe and confident to be themselves and perform to the best of their ability within the organisation. If you want to speak to a network member about a confidential issue please contact the network co-chairs.
Our activities contribute to Reading's ambition to embed equality and diversity across the University, and we welcome suggestions for events and activities at any time. We are fully supported by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Parveen Yaqoob who is the University's Champion for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Become an LGBTQIA+ Ally
One of our most popular initiatives is developing a network of allies across the University. An LGBTQIA+ Ally is someone who doesn't identify as LGBT+ and believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people should experience full equality, or indeed someone who identifies as L, G, B, T, or + and is an ally to others across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
To learn more about the LGBTQIA+ Network, please read our Terms of Reference. If you would like to join the network, have any ideas or enquiries, then please contact network co-chairs Ruvi Ziegler or Tahlia Virdee.
If you could like to become an LGBTQIA+ Ally or would like to seek advice, then please contact our Lead Ally, Michael Kilmister .
You can also keep in touch with us by:
- Following the Microsoft Teams group link
- Signing up to our mailing list
- Liking us on Facebook
- Following us on Twitter
- Reading and bookmarking our blog
The Parent and Family Network was set up in 2019 by two colleagues who recognised the importance of peer support and informal information networks when they returned to work following maternity leave. It is intended to be a source of information-sharing and support for any colleagues who are parents or have any other form of caring responsibility for children or young people.
We hold regular events with invited speakers where you can connect with other members of the Network and listen to talks on relevant topics, such as encouraging healthy eating in young children; balancing home schooling and home working; and identifying and managing childhood anxiety.
We also have an active online community on Teams where you can ask questions, share resources and even advertise items to sell/give away.
Launched in 2017, the Staff Disability+ Network is an inclusive support network for all staff with a range of disabilities, impairments and / or mental health conditions, as well as non-disabled staff with an interest in disability issues.
The core principle of the network is one of equality. The network aims to promote an increased influence within the University of Reading, to make our community more inclusive to all staff members. We aim to give disabled colleagues a voice in the University, to provide a consultation group on matters such as management, HR and building works, to inspire culture change and raise awareness, and to develop a network of allies across the University.
The Staff Disability+ Network, co-chaired by Yota Dimitriadi (0118 378 2688), work closely with the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Allán Laville. You can join the Disability+ Staff Network by following the Microsoft Teams group link.
The Women@Reading staff network champions issues of gender equality across the University.
Working with University leadership the Network aims to:
- hold the University to account for its gender objectives by championing gender parity amongst academic and professional service staff, including the professoriate and in leadership role
- champion and create equal gender representation on decision making Committees
- champion and create gender equality of opportunity and pay in all areas and types of roles at the University
- provide a supportive space for women to engage with one another
- support women's career progression and development through targeted communications and programmes
- develop and support a network of Gender Allies to work with the Network in championing and promoting gender equality across the University and speaking up when they witness discriminatory behaviour or language
- contribute to creating a diverse and inclusive University
Our Chair is Rachel Thorns (Human Resources), who is supported by an active Steering Group. Collectively, they build awareness of and champion topics of interest for members and staff more widely, organise events and activities, often in collaboration with other EDI Networks where there are topics of shared interest, providing a voice for all women working at the University.
The Chair has regular access to University leadership to raise topics of interest affecting Network members and to propose action primarily via the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, the University Equality and Diversity Board, the University's Athena Swan Implementation Group and the UEB Sex Equality Champion.
All Women@Reading events are open to all staff. They are advertised on the Staff Portal and in In Brief, and are bookable on UoR Learn.
If you are interested in joining the Network, please sign up through Microsoft Teams.
For general enquiries about the Network and/or if you would like to support our work as an Ally, please contact us at email@example.com so we can respond to your query and/or share some resources with you to get you started on your Gender Ally journey.
Women’s Health Café - facilitated by the Women@Reading Network
Further to Network members feedback and looking at other initiatives/models successfully implemented in many other organisations, the aim of the café is to create a space for people to come together to talk, share stories and support each other. Facilitated by network members, this will also help us to better understand the issues that people are facing and help us to signpost them for further support to meet their needs.
The café is primarily aimed at women, however other members of the University community are also welcome to come along to develop their awareness of women’s health topics, how they may impact women in the workplace and to enable the café community to be there for those who may be supporting a partner, family member, friend and/or work colleague with a particular health-related event. We may have several groups who may want to discuss potentially different things relating to women’s health – it is up to those who attend, there is no set agenda!
There will be 3 key points to remember for those participating in the cafes:
- Listen when people are talking
- Have respect for others’ views, and
- Treat the conversations and information shared as confidential
The café will take place on the following basis, at the following dates, this academic year (September 2023 – August 2024):
12:00pm to 1:30pm, Library Café, Whiteknights Campus
- Tuesday 12 September
- Wednesday 18 October (World Menopause Day)
- Thursday 16 November
- Tuesday 12 December
- Thursday 11 January
- Wednesday 21 February
- Tuesday 12 March
- Wednesday 24 April
- Thursday 16 May
- Thursday 13 June
- Wednesday 3 July
We are pleased to confirm that the Network will continue to subsidise a 50% discount on your first drink (a voucher will be given to you when you arrive at the café for you to use to purchase a drink).
There is more information and some FAQs about the cafes on our Women’s Health channel on the Network Teams.
So, we hope to see you at the café over the year and if anyone is interested in helping to facilitate a café and/or set up a café online, at London Road or Greenlands campuses then please email the Women@Reading Network so we can come back to you to discuss how we can make that happen!
Women's Springboard Network
The Women's Springboard Network was set up in November 2019 by Cohort 12, who attended the Women's Springboard Programme from April-July 2019. We were very keen to maintain the momentum of the programme and have been meeting on a termly basis to continue our learning and to network with each other. The Network has recently grown in size to around 100 women across the University, as we extended the membership to include all colleagues who have undertaken the Springboard Programme in previous years. Our aim is to also invite future 'Springboarders'.
The Network aims to:
- Give an opportunity for members to reinforce their learning of the key principles of the Springboard programme and continue their personal and professional development
- Provide a network of peer support from colleagues across different roles and sectors of the University
- Hear from inspirational guest speakers about their career and the progression to their current role
- Discuss new topics relevant to the programme
- Give members of the group a chance to share personal and professional successes and achievements
- Share a range of useful resources such as articles, books, podcasts and TED talks
We have received Diversity and Inclusion funding to help support our meetings. Topics of meetings to date have included achievements and goals, presentation skills and developing resilience supported by the UoR People Development Team, external facilitators and guest speakers who have shared their stories. Going forward we aim to hold a combination of online and face to face meetings.
The Women's Springboard Network, is facilitated by Julie Farwell, supported by Tracy McAuley and Rachel Franklin. For more information and to join the group, please contact Springboardnetwork@reading.ac.uk.
We also regularly communicate and share information on our Teams Link.