Leading people from the world of business, academia, government and the legal sector believe that increasing diversity in the workplace is an individual responsibility which we must all strive to enact if we are to see real change for the next generation. These were the findings of the Miranda Brawn Annual Diversity Leadership Conference hosted by The University of Law (ULaw) at its Moorgate campus on Saturday, 21 October.
The event is the brainchild and organised by Dr Miranda Brawn, barrister and a leading campaigner for diversity in the UK, to educate,empower and raise awareness about the divisions within society and the extent of the race and gender diversity gap with our next generation, with a particular focus on the legal profession. This is the second annual lecture by Dr Miranda Brawn is targeted at our next generation of leaders aged between 14-21 year olds from a BAME background to help close the diversity gap with action.
Among the key diversity figures who spoke at the event were race relations pioneer and Patron of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation Dame Jocelyn Barrow DBE, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, founder of The Chineke! Foundation, Europe’s first BAME Orchestra and Professor at the Royal Academy of Music; Patrick Vernon OBE, political activist and publisher; and Jacqui Gavin, leading trans rights activist and transgender Civil Servant for the Department of International Trade.
The speakers recognised that although diversity and inequality are becoming more prevalent in the national agenda, barriers to achieving success and securing top positions for young people still exist. In particular, speakers highlighted the need for individuals to be responsible for bringing about equality for all races, sexualities, disabilities and social backgrounds in the workplace. In order to achieve this, leadership, progression and recruitment practices must be changed to become more accepting and open. Speakers also sought to inspire and provide practical advice for the audience on fighting stereotypes and challenges in the workplace by discussing the difficulties they have faced in their professional and personal lives and how they have overcome these.
Dr Miranda Brawn, barrister, leading diversity campaigner, founder and CEO of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation, commented during her diversity leadership lecture: “When it comes to race diversity and tackling inequality we must do more and we must do better. A race pay gap exists and the question we need to address is how do we change the gap. One of the solutions is to talk about race, to be colour-brave, and to talk about race diversity. The next generation will only achieve success if they can see others achieving it. Each and every one of us needs to work together to close the gap across all diversity strands in the UK.”
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti commented on the event:“At a moment in history when eight men own more than 3.6 billion other people on the planet, it is hard to imagine a period of greater inequality in our society. This imbalance is not just economic but racial and gendered. The gulf is perhaps most starkly reflected in a lack of diversity in leadership across so many professions and walks of life. And the legal profession, in this country, is an area, which arguably requires the most urgent change.
“Though I welcomed the recent appointment of Lady Justice Black to the Supreme Court, two women out of 11, and no BAME in our senior judiciary is not good enough. To tackle inequality we must do more and do better. I am delighted to support the work of Dr Miranda Brawn which includes The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation to recognise, reward and celebrate future leaders from a BAME background helping to increase diversity in the workforce. Thank you to the University of Law for supporting this much needed diversity leadership event.”
Jacqueline Cheltenham, national programme and student affairs director, The University of Law (ULaw), said: “We are delighted that Dr Miranda Brawn, an alumna of The University of Law, is making such a positive and impressive difference in the diversity arena. ULaw is dedicated to continuing to promote, encourage and achieve diversity across undergraduate and postgraduate levels to ensure the success of our diverse students.”
The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship 2017 winners (in alphabetical order):
- Ayah Elomrani (Bonus Hogan Lovells Law 2017)
- George Imafidon (Multi-sector 2017)
- Hamida Khanom (Finance and Business 2017)
- Leeha Taha (The Prince’s Trust 2017)
- Naima Habib (Ark Burlington Danes Academy 2017)
- Najma Habib (Ark Burlington Danes Academy 2017)
- Norman Womuhai (Hogan Lovells Law 2017)
- Somaieh Hedayat (Cancer Research UK (STEAM) 2017)
- Thalia Papanicolau (Lambeth 2017)
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