Tag: infographics

PlayFair Steps for equality action

By claireknights [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Playfair Steps, Edinburgh. By claireknights [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change.  We are recruiting an intern to help us. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.

Opportunity and strategic alignment

Following our gender equality survey, within the context of the University’s commitment to Athena Swan, and in line with a broader approach to change management in IS, we have an opportunity now to make some innovative moves to address equality and diversity issues for our staff.

Key messages

One of the key messages arising from our staff survey was that ‘equality involves everyone’. This indicates that our success will depend on ensuring that our plans target all groups and include a range of positive actions, in addition to those specifically designed for women.


Alongside the work we must do in HR and with directors and managers around policies and process, we will establish an innovative programme of staff workplace activities * and L&D opportunities focused on a general concept of ‘fair play’ called ‘The PlayFair Steps’**.

Next Steps

  • To begin making our planned equality action areas into a SMART plan for 3 years.
  • To recruit (using CIO innovation funds) a Phd intern to work with us for the first year to monitor progress against targets in these change areas.
  • To establish a staff group to lead, shape and bring new ideas.

Proposed Equality Actions Areas for next 3years


  • Deliver a communications plan to advertise, update and raise awareness of relevant university HR policies where they exist.
  • Deliver a communications plan of concerted positive comms around ADR, L&D, mentoring, professional networks for career development.
  • Dispel myths of inequality of access to opportunity by making visible stats which reflect the real uptake of staff development, training, conference attendance and rewards and recognition payments across ISG.
  • Offer staff development sessions on ‘how to get promoted’.
  • Review how ‘good citizen’ activities contribute to promotion criteria, reward and recognition.
  • Do follow up surveys (from the University) on race, faith and disability.


  • Ensure fair and transparent recruitment, promotion and policy-making processes.
  • Ensure everyone involved in recruitment (JD, panels etc) has been on diversity and bias training. Showcase and share examples of JDs with gender-neutral language and positive action.
  • More visible positive action to recruit to under-represented groups/areas including use of social media to advertise opportunities using appropriate hashtags and fora. e.g #womenintech.

Work –life balance

  • Enhancement of family-friendly policies and improved communication of these.
  • Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by not holding meetings outside core hours.
  • Encourage work/social activities which are family friendly.
  • Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by reducing management email sent outside core hours except re tier1 service incidents.
  • Designate a separate (bookable) quiet room with a nice view for prayer, meditation, escape from sensory overload, breastfeeding and expressing.

Supporting gender equality more broadly

  • Offer visible equality role models of both genders by ensuring that invited speakers, presentations, vendor presentations reflect a gender mix.
  • Offer visible equality role models of both genders by working with conference organisers to reduce the number of single sex panels at conferences or events.
  • Ensure that we have diversity in our decision-making groups.
  • Provide opportunities for career development and networking through visible support/involvement/hosting of organisation events e.g Ada Lovelace Day.
  • Offer visible equality role models by naming computer systems, servers, rooms etc after relevant famous women.
  • Display more art by diverse (and women) artists.
  • Ensure that systems which hold personal data offer a choice of gender neutral honorifics e.g Mx
  • Build systems and applications which pass the Bechdel test for software.
  • Promote to staff and students digital initiatives for gender equality in tech areas e.g coding and gaming.
  • Engage with research in emerging areas around gender and the internet to inform the development of services to support staff and students’ safety online


* Similar to our ‘healthy working lives’ initiatives.

** As well as including the word ‘fair’ and ‘play’, the Playfair Steps are a well-known set of steps in Edinburgh which take you easily from the old (town) to the new (town) . Additionally, the engineer William Playfair invented infographics- bar charts and pie charts -and much of our gender equality business is done using these.