Last night I had dinner with some very clever women of my acquaintance. I mentioned to them that I had been on “unconscious bias’ training. ‘What does that even mean?’ they asked. Luckily, I was able to clarify as I have now had 3 different men mansplain it to me.
The University is on an equality and diversity kick. I have now been to 2 sessions on the topic. One much better than the other. I’ll be sending my feedback in. In today’s session I asked whether unconscious bias was the new name for prejudice. That didn’t go down well.
Clearly there are no women who can deliver unconscious bias training to senior university managers, which surprises me, since you would think it was a rich area of work. Perhaps all the female presenters and trainers are being kept in reserve for the Aurora sessions and Athena SWAN sessions.
One thing I have noticed though is that colleagues in the sessions seem reluctant to use the word ‘women‘. I have heard ‘girls’, ‘ladies ‘and ‘females’ repeatedly.
It was the repeated use of the word ‘girls’ and some rather off-colour anecdotes about lesbians which makes me mark down the second set of presenters. That, and some very uninspiring pedagogy. Surely we can do better than this.