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Diversity and equality networks

Our diversity networks help to support and promote diversity and inclusion at Reading.

Professional Development Networks

If you are interested in starting a new network, contact the Diversity Team.

Diversity and Inclusion Staff Networks

Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network

The logo for the B.A.M.E. staff network at the University of Reading. The B, for black, is in blue with 'Black' written inside. The A for Asian is in orange, with the word Asian written inside. The M for minority is in light green and the word minority is written inside, and the letter E for ethnic is pink, with the word Ethnic written inside.

We are a network of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues at the University. Our group was setup in 2020 and since then we continue to drive change for the better. Together we form valued connections, turn aims into actions, and foster a supportive, culturally-inclusive community. As a friendly and welcoming group, we aim to offer a safe space to all BAME colleagues, including postgraduate doctoral students and allies.
We contribute to a variety of race equality initiatives and activities. We seek to provide an informal social hub, organising and hosting a range of events where we provide a platform for celebrating BAME achievements, amplifying BAME voices, and offering learning opportunities for all. We take time to raise awareness for staff-led topics of interest and we make space for all to share their lived experiences. As an active network we prioritise positive change-making at the University and as key contributors to policy-making, we are consulted on organisational-level projects, including the Race Equality Review 2021 and the successful Bronze Race Equality Charter Mark Award. We also work very closely with the other staff networks and external groups (charities, HEIs, and organisations), championing intersectionality and collective activism. 

Our team

With the help of our co-chairs AleiahPotter (Marketing, Communication & Engagement) and Hong Yang (School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science), alongside our steering committee members, executive board Race Equality Champion Robert Van De Noort (Vice-Chancellor), D&I team and many other volunteers, we're able to advocate for staff, signpost information, and offer informal peer support. If you think you could volunteer some of your time or expertise, please get in touch! 

How can you get involved?


LGBTQIA+ Network


the LGBTQIA+ staff network logo which contains a the progress pride flag in a circle on the left and the text 'LGBTQIA+ staff network' on the right 


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 Peer Support Network 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:

Parent and Family Network

We are a staff network set up to support, represent and foster community among colleagues with familial and other caring responsibilities for children and young people, adults or elderly family members. We advocate for staff across the University and also welcome PHD students to be included in our supportive network by providing a social forum, termly meetings and talks on a range of subjects. We welcome any and all to join and be part of our community both online and in person. Parenting and caring for people of all ages can be challenging (albeit it very rewarding too) so we are here to support you and advocate as well as signpost for you as best we can.  

The Network is currently co-chaired by Sarah Jewell and Jeevan Kang. You can find out more about our network and the different sub groups on our webpage, or by emailing. We keep in touch through our online community on MS Team, offering each other informal peer support and information to help us, as parents and carers, manage work and family life. Join our Parent and Family Network | General | Microsoft Teams

Staff Disability+ Network

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.

Women@Reading Network

The Women@Reading 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 roles 
  • 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 Co-Chairs are Dr Tharindu Liyanagunawardena (Digital Accessibility Officer, Digital Technology Services) and Dr Anna Ziomek (Lecturer, International Study and Language Institute), who are supported by an active steering group.  

Collectively, we raise awareness of concerns and issues that affect women, organise events, collaborate with other EDI Networks, and raise issues to University leadership. 

Visit the Women@Reading Network MS Teams group to join, or for any queries, email us at

Women’s Health Café - facilitated by the Women@Reading Network

The Women’s Health Café offers a space for people to come together to talk, share stories and support each other. Facilitated by network members, these friendly, informal sessions 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 Women’s Health Café offers two sessions per month, one in the Library Café at Whiteknights campus, and one online. Dates for the rest of the term are as follows:

  • Thursday 16 May 2024, 12:00 – 13:30 (Library Café) 
  • Monday 20 May 2024, 12:30 – 13:30 (Online) 
  • Thursday 13 June 2024, 12:00 – 13:30 (Library Café) 
  • Tuesday 18 June 2024, 12:30 – 13:30 (Online) 
  • Wednesday 3 July 2024, 12:00 – 13:30 (Library Café) 
  • Thursday 4 July 2024, 12:30 – 13:30 (Online)
Those attending in-person Women’s Health Café events can claim a voucher for 50% off their first drink. There is more information and some FAQs about the cafes on our Women’s Health channel on the Network Teams. 

Professional Development Networks

Women's Springboard Network

The Women's Springboard Network logo. The logo has a purple rectangle background with 'Women's Springboard Network' text in white on top.

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 keen to maintain the momentum of the programme and started meeting on a termly basis to continue our learning and to network with each other.


Since then, the membership of our Network has grown constantly, currently standing at 150 women from across the University. We welcome women of all ages and backgrounds, who have undertaken the Springboard Programme.


The Network aims to give an opportunity for Members to:

  • Reinforce your learning of the key principles of the Springboard programme

  • Continue your personal and professional development and build confidence to progress to new roles or manage your current role more effectively

  • Tap into a network of peer support from colleagues across different roles, grades and sectors of the University

  • Hear inspirational guest speakers, who have attended the Springboard Programme, share insights from their career and life journey

  • Discuss new topics relevant to the programme

  • Share and celebrate your successes and achievements


We have been fortunate to receive Diversity and Inclusion funding to help support our programme of activities. This has enabled us to invite external coaches to provide interactive sessions on topics such as Developing a Personal Brand, Taming your Inner Critic and Influencing with Power and Confidence. Chris Cross, the inspirational Springboard Programme coach, has also led half day annual refresher workshops so we can revisit the Springboard aims whilst reconnecting with fellow Springboarders.  


Our meetings have also focused on areas such as Body Language, Presentation Skills and Developing Resilience with the help of specialist input from the UoR People Development Team.  


We collaborate with the other Staff Networks to provide shared events, for example, we have teamed up with colleagues in the Women@Reading Network to celebrate  International Women’s Day.


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 or sign up via the Women’s Springboard Network Team.