Falling between the Cracks: What Diversity Means for Black Women in Higher Education

  • Jones C
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The concepts of social justice and diversity have attained currency in political discourse and in organizational policy. SInce the 1960's, the concept of social justice has been at the forefront of governmental drives to eradicate social inequalitites, delivered through a framework of equality of opportunity. REcent years have, however, witnesses a shift away from teh traditional equal opportunity model of achieving equality towards the adoption diversity management as a strategy or organizational policy. This shift comes in the wake of the increasing recognition of the diverse nature of employees in the workplace. A cornerstone of diverseity management is its stress on the recongition and valuing of the individual rather than social group difference. An emphasis on individiual differnce may, however, carry profound consequences for the achievement of equality, for it may in fact serve to obscure and exacerbate the structural causes of inequality and, moreover, it may be an inadeqaute approach to countering the racliazed discrimination and disadvantage encountered by Black female academics. This article therefore asks: What are the implications of this shift for Black and minority ethnic women academics in higher education in the United Kingdom today? Is it possible for higher education institutions and other employers to initiate a diversity policy that not only recognizes differences, but at the same time ensures the delivery of policies and practices that challenge inequality?

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  • Cecily Jones

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