Sexual Harassment in Archaeology by Dani Bradford @anthroqveer

It didn’t take long for the #MeToo movement to spread outside of Hollywood after it reached mainstream media in October of 2017, started by Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, in 2006. The conversation quickly infiltrated all disciplines and fields; no longer was this a topic skirted around and hidden from, but instead I watched on as my Twitter feed filled with accounts from fellow archaeologists and anthropologists sharing their stories, breaking their silence, and I saw the same materialise among fellow students and colleagues within my department. Even now, over a year later, the conversation hasn’t died down, as many may have expected — or hoped. We haven’t lowered our voices.


At the European Association of Archaeologist conference this September flyers appeared titled #StopViolenceInArchaeology with statistics such as ’1 out of 2 women have been harassed in archaeological sites in Spain (’, and some which left space for individuals to share their own testimonies (


So, is archaeology in the middle of it’s #MeToo moment, and if so, what does that mean for our discipline, and the safety of those within it?


Dr Jenny Andrew said that ‘#MeToo is not a social media side show’ ( in a tweet stating the importance of the flyers at EAA2018, and the difficulties of hearing such testimonies whilst working with Dr Anne Teather on researching and tackling gender discrimination and harassment within archaeology. It is imperative to remember this. Whilst it may seem that a shift has occurred within the last year around the conversation of sexual misconduct in our fields, we must ensure that such testimonies do not fade away. We must ensure that we are not merely shouting into a social media void. Giving these issues academic space is essential.


Over the past year I have been carrying out research into sexual misconduct in fieldwork contexts. One of the most prevalent challenges that I have faced has been justifying the relevance and the importance of my work. I have often been told that it is ‘not suitable or relevant to’ archaeology and anthropology. I argue that not only is it relevant, but it is in fact the most important avenue of research that can currently be carried out in order to ensure the continuation and progress of anthropology. We must take the conversation out of social media and into the discipline itself, we must be supported by our institutions and departments in doing so, and we must do so in a way that uplifts the voices of those who have been victimised by perpetrators in our fields.


Sexual misconduct in our institutions has been described as an ‘epidemic’ ( — and I agree. For years the focus has been on encouraging women and minority groups to pursue STEM subjects, and academia more widely, and for very good reason. However, little space has been given to the issue of keeping women in academia.

Kate Clancy and colleagues, in their Survey of Academic Field Experiences (, refer to the ‘attrition rates’ of women in science, finding that experiences of misconduct are likely to contribute to large numbers of women and minority groups leaving the discipline. Outreach programs are no use if young women are entering an unsafe working environment. Quotas mean nothing if this epidemic of sexual misconduct is causing disproportionately high drop-out rates for women in academia. The issue may not be getting us here, but keeping us. The focus now needs to be on creating a safe environment in which women and minority groups can not only enter into academic spaces, but flourish within them.


We have an issue, an epidemic, in our fields. We have a situation in which 64% of individuals partaking in fieldwork have personally experienced sexual harassment ( We have a situation in which 12% of individuals who reported experiencing sexual misconduct reported changing field sites, research interests, or leaving academia all together (, and 19% reported decreased desire to continue with career choice. We cannot expect to make the same levels of academic and intellectual progress in an environment so hostile and dangerous that countless individuals are being forced to abandon their research, their projects, their careers. Our disciplines cannot thrive under this environment.


But how can we use academia to combat this? What do studies about sexual misconduct bring to the conversation? In my opinion, academic research can benefit the #MeToo movement in three major ways: getting people to listen, informing policy, and re-centering the conversation,


Trying to get people to listen, to engage in the conversation in a meaningful way, especially those who actually have the power to make real, immediate, institutional changes, is perhaps the most difficult. We shouldn’t have to prove that sexual misconduct 1) exists, and 2) matters. Why should academic research and data matter more than the lived experiences of those impacted by these issues who have been telling their story and speaking out long before #MeToo hit the media? And when do we have enough data? It’s not like there isn’t already a plethora of existing literature attesting to the scope and consequences of these actions.


Sadly in my experience, however, being able to present hard-hitting statistics and peer-reviewed papers has been extremely useful in engaging those in senior positions of power, and encouraging them to sit up and listen. It can open up the door to a more meaningful and nuanced conversation around sexual misconduct — whether that is centred in academia, in fieldwork, in archaeology, or more broadly.


Creating policy and protocols that are rooted in reality, rather than assumptions, can only be achieved by putting lived experiences at the centre. Academic research, when carried out with sensitivity, when done with the realisation that the work must also, in itself, be victim-centred and informed, can be a vital medium through which these experiences can be channelled. They can be used to create truly inclusive and accessible resources.


Current policy and safety practices are more often than not being written based on assumptions by individuals who may not have experienced the risks they are trying to protect us against. By giving academic space to the subject of fieldwork safety the specific risks that occur in fieldwork contexts — a unique working environment that comes with it’s own unique dangers — can be identified. Being able to identify the risks is the first step in preventing and managing them, and a step towards greater retention of marginalised groups within our field. If the protocols aren’t victim-centred, they are futile.


Lastly, academic research can — and should — be used to re-centre the conversation away from a ‘social media slide-show’ ( and into a conversation that produces material changes and institutional action. That should be the focus, the end-game, of all research into misconduct; to understand, and then to use that understanding to inform and redress how we current manage instances of misconduct in our fields.


I am not saying that academic research will solve the issue that 64% of individuals partaking in fieldwork have been sexually harassed. But I do believe that, if done well — and by well I mean with sensitivity, with change as the primary focus, and whilst working with, as opposed to merely ‘studying’, those most effected by the issues being researched — it can aid in the pursuit of meaningful engagement, conversation, and change.

Dani is currently carrying out a study into fieldwork safety as part of her dissertation, you can help here:



Personal Awakenings in Archaeology



By Joe Flatman


Dave Conlin of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) recently wrote a blog post ‘Underwater Archaeology is Waking Up’ ( that really resonated with me. As Dave introduces himself:


‘I’m too old, too unhip, too cranky, and too white to lay claim to even a sliver of what is now being called by a younger generation as ‘woke’; and… as a white heterosexual American male, I am acutely aware that through the happenstance of some cosmic lottery, I was born into the (current) top tier of global privilege’.


What goes for Dave goes (bar the nationality) for me too – and yet I find myself more and more involved in issues of equality and diversity, both in my professional and personal lives. Professionally I’m spending a lot of time working on how to better represent the diverse heritage of peoples and places through the National Heritage List of England (NHLE), and personally I’m trying to be an ‘equality activist’ through my work with the CIfA Equality and Diversity Group ( The question is – why? What’s my journey to, if not ‘woke’, then at least ‘awakening’, when plenty of people in my position sail blissfully along below the radar of equality and diversity?


As I outline in another blog about my work with the Fawcett Society (, a substantial part of my desire to be an activist in terms of equality is a personal journey of identity politics in my non-professional life. In the wider world I simply got to a tipping point where I could not, and would not, stand quiet any more, unmoved by the very real suffering and sacrifice of others. My desire to be an active worker on equality in issues within our profession stems, inevitably, from this same source, but is strangely both more and yet also paradoxically less personal. Like Dave, I grew up in a world that I now recognise to be profoundly unfair, unequal and unacceptable. Many elements of these unacceptable behaviours and cultural inequalities remain in place to this day, even where they have been driven to the margins or begun to be challenged. A recent cross-sector event on equality and diversity in heritage hosted by the CIfA Equality and Diversity Group in July 2018 heard of just some of the dreadful experiences and circumstances faced, often on a daily basis, by many different individuals actively working in our community today, here and now, in 2018 – anything from bullying and harassment, by way of denial of opportunities and advancement, right up to violent verbal and physical assault.


But for all the evidence provided, it can be easy to still stand remote and largely unmoved by such evidence even when directly confronted by it – to be the analytical ‘scientist’ archaeologist that so many of us, trained in the 1980s and 1990s, were taught was the model to strive towards and emulate. To be emotional, to emote, be moved – to be ‘woke’ – wasn’t really encouraged under such circumstances for any of us of that and previous generations, least of all by a typically repressed middle-class, heterosexual white Englishman. And yet let us make no denials: this is and ought to be personal and profoundly, gut- and soul-wrenchingly emotive. Lives have been fundamentally and irrevocably impacted in a negative way; livelihoods and careers ruined; individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing permanently damaged. And the moral responsibility for this lies with us all.


Organisations like British Women Archaeologists (BWA) and British Archaeological Jobs and Resources (BAJR) have built-up dossiers of evidence on the embedded cultures of harassment, inequality and discrimination within our community. Being confronted by such overwhelming evidence points to one conclusion – we’re all complicit in this. Even if we are not the perpetrators, we’ve all of us – each and every one of us, to a greater or lesser extent – turned a blind eye at some point. At a personal level, I think with shame not of the great heroic moments of my career but of the un-heroic: of those times that I didn’t call-out the colleague or contractor who made a remark that was derogatory to or harassed a co-worker; of those times that I didn’t challenge the bullies and the sleazeballs who still permeate our communities; of those times where I chose the path of least resistance and passivity.


The more we are faced with such evidence, both as a community and as individuals, the clearer, at least to me, it becomes: we must, we have, to do more, faster than ever, to challenge and overcome such discrimination and to fundamentally alter the very nature of both our working environments and, even more profoundly, the philosophical frameworks and constructs of our cultural communities. Dave’s blog concludes with a characteristically optimistic assessment: ‘as our toehold in the next millennium has grown into a beachhead, our world is changing and it makes me pleased and proud to see that our field is changing with it’. And Dave is right to be optimistic – much is changing, much for the better. But we cannot choose the path of least resistance and we cannot be passive.


The more I think about it, the more, at least to me I reach the conclusion that if we’re not activists for equality and diversity in our professional lives, then we’re not being professionals at all. At the 6 July event, the real ‘light-bulb’ moment for me was when several attendees framed equality and diversity issues in the context of health and safety. Appalling behaviours in terms of health and safety regularly occurred on archaeological sites in the past, leading to catastrophic, life-changing circumstances for some individuals. Gradually, but with growing power and influence, as informed by wider improvements outside of the sector, such bad practice was challenged and transformed. The ‘new normal’ of PPE, of risk assessments, of the frameworks of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme in the UK (and its equivalents around the world) arose. The journey to this point was not easy and is still occasionally questioned. But few fundamentally question the benefits of ‘now’ versus ‘then’ in terms of H+S. Equality and diversity issues framed in this context seem at once both a lot more personal (and personally beneficial) and also a lot more professional. And that really is surely an optimistic future to look towards.

For more information on the 6 July 2018 cross-sector event hosted by the CIfA Equality and Diversity Group, please see our website ( and follow us online @CIFA_Equality.


Joe Flatman is the Secretary of the CIfA Equality and Diversity Group. He works at Historic England, and tweets in a personal capacity @joeflatman.


Invitation: A cross-sector equality and diversity meeting – Friday 6 July 2018

The CIFA Equality and Diversity Group will be holding a cross-sector equality and diversity meeting to be held at Historic England’s offices at Cannon Bridge House, London on Friday 6 July 2018, 11am-3pm. This meeting is to discuss how, across the heritage sector (as broadly defined), we can collectively, collaboratively and proactively work towards a more equal and diverse community of practice. In particular, the intention of the meeting is to develop a defined course of cross-sectoral action to enable us to collectively deal with the challenges of harassment that the #MeToo movement presents to us. At the start of June we will circulate two ‘think pieces’ on social media and via our website to stimulate discussions on the day, and we will be grateful for comments on these in advance.

We have invited representatives from across the sector to attend and will make a clear announcement of the outcomes of the meeting afterwards. We also welcome individual participation by telephone (and some physical places may be available on a first come, first served basis – to be announced nearer the time). If you would like to participate in this manner please contact the organisers by Friday 25th May. The organisers are Dr Hannah Cobb (CIFA Equality and Diversity Group Chair, and Dr Joe Flatman (CIFA Equality and Diversity Group Secretary,

Our Conference Session 2017.

Who are we?

Victoria Reid graduated from the with a degree in archaeology from the University of Aberdeen in 2014 and has been working with people with disabilities since. She recognised that there was a need to provide inclusive opportunities for them to access archaeology, in 2015 Access to Archaeology the concept was born, Victoria started with workshops with the visually impaired and then extended out to Cubs groups. Through her research for the workshop Victoria was horrified to see that it was hard to find inclusive workshops and excavations. Victoria prepared a paper on the vision impairment workshop for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists 2015 conference and was very fortunate to be accepted. Victoria formalised Access to Archaeology as a business in April 2016 more as a way of supporting their activities than to make money. Since then they have worked with Lindengate a Mental Health Charity, providing a six-week excavation session. They have contributed to an outdoor learning resource for the Scottish Forestry Commission and run workshops for the PACE Centre.

access to archaeology logo

James Goldsworthy is an exceptional coach with courage, impact, leadership experience and highly tuned listening skills. He lost his sight in 2005 and has subsequently qualified as an executive coach, become a certified trainer on no fewer than four assistive technology platforms for the visually impaired, started his own successful business and become a specialist in the field of visual impairment. He’s also trekked across the Sahara, driven a tank, flown a microlight and holds multiple bronze and silver medals at British National level in blind acoustic shooting. James has worked with the visually impaired since 2006, serving as a Director of a county wide charity for the visually impaired where he worked closely with the visually impaired as well as their families. He has extensive experience in the creation and implementation of training and development programmes for the confidence building, up-skilling and personal growth of visually impaired individuals wishing to gain meaningful employment, return to work after losing their sight or make a transition from one career to another. He also plays bass guitar in a rock band, a band with whom he’s played at the 2015 Rugby World Cup as well as the 2016 Formula One British Grand Prix and British Moto GP.

Alternative Visions Coaching logo

Our conference session 2017.

Back in April we were fortunate enough to be able to present a paper at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ Annual Conference. Our session focused on providing practical solutions to making excavations more accessible to people with vision loss. One of the key points that we identified was that it needn’t mean a lot of extra work or extensive adaptations. Simply talking to the individual can go a long way to reassuring an employer that it’s perfectly possible and indeed relatively easy to make archaeology accessible to the sight impaired.

Our Excavation case study at Lindengate, a mental health charity, proves just that.  Victoria invited James to attend the dig to give his insight. It’s worth mentioning here that James has no vision at all so was giving his input from a position of experience and practicality. James was very keen to get involved so we arranged that he’d attend a dig to see what happened.

We spent the whole day working through potential issues and practical challenges as well as discussing solutions and establishing some “best practice” steps. Here’s the highlights of what we found.

Information sharing.

We highlighted the importance of making information accessible by producing it in formats such as large print hard copy or electronic documents to be read by the individual with their own magnification or screenreading software. We also identified that it’s essential to talk to the individual and let them know what to expect as well as allowing them to ask questions.


We found that spending time with the individual and giving practical instruction on trowel technique is vitally important. Giving this instruction not only helps maintain the integrity of any items found but also gives the individual a chance to properly understand how correct technique works. An important discovery regarding trowel technique is that by far the best type to use are wooden handled trowels as wooden handles allow feedback to travel up the shaft of the trowel. This feedback is then transferred through the wood to the hand of the user giving them a greater degree of control over the tool and better sensitivity to the information fed back through it.

We also discussed the importance of describing the ground conditions of the dig site. Different areas such as marshy ground, scrubland, firm or hard packed earth etc should be communicated to the individual to improve their awareness; it also aids guiding. This also raises a key point. It’s absolutely essential when working with people with sight loss to have at least one person on site who is sighted guide trained. They should have attended a training course where sighted guide training and interaction with people with sight loss is the focus.

Placement really is important. Ideally the person’s excavation area should be close to the entrance/exit to minimise the risks of lengthy and potentially hazardous navigation around the site. It’s also a great idea to have a brightly coloured flag (James recommends bright orange for contrast) with a small bell from a cat’s collar attached to it located at the entrance/exit of the site. This enables both visually impaired and blind people to orientate themselves whilst in their trench.

We also found that it minimises the risk of accidents if the spoil bucket and tools are handed to the person once they are in their trench as the person can put them where they want them. We learned this the hard way as James had no idea that his bucket had been placed behind him in his trench and promptly fell backwards over it.

This gives you some insight into the sorts of easy adjustments that can be made to make digs accessible to those with sight loss. We hope you’ve found the blog interesting and useful. If you’d like to watch our CIFA session you can check it out at

Please get in touch with either of us if you have any questions or if you’d like to enquire about our training opportunities.

Victoria and James.

Find out more.

If you would like to chat to Victoria or James more about any of the issues spoken about in this blog then please feel free to get in touch with them using the details below. They are happy to help and to support.

Contact/follow Victoria on




Twitter: @AccesstoArch

Contact/follow James on




Twitter: @AVCoaching

Accessible conferences – what can organisers do?

Attending a conference can be an affirming, confidence boosting, and intellectually stimulating endeavour for the archaeologist – but it can also be intimidating, physically and mentally challenging, and fraught with anxieties. For conference goers with disabilities, health issues, and additional needs, there are several hurdles in the way of a positive conference experience that could be ameliorated or avoided entirely with some forward planning by organisers and genuine engagement with all attendees to find out their needs and requirements.

The first step, as pointed out by Hanna Marie Pageau at the recent CAA conference in Atlanta, is to ensure that anyone registering to attend a conference or event should have the opportunity to state their requirements at the point of sign up – a simple text box upon registration. This achieves two things; it gives conference organisers a heads-up of the kind of facilities and adjustments they will need to provide, and it enables the attendee to state their needs without having to chase up (frequently very busy and difficult to contact) conference organisers, scour web pages for any mention of access or available facilities, or face the anxiety of feeling “awkward” for requesting reasonable adjustments by email, phone call, or social media.

So you are organising a conference. Just what kind of facilities, adjustments, and processes should you be considering when planning for your attendees? You may have considered the basics of level access, accessible toilets, hearing loops – but it goes much deeper than this, and in most cases, is not costly or difficult to achieve. Consider reading up on Scope’s research on current attitudes towards disabled people or definitions of some invisible disabilities and illnesses, and how they affect everyday life. Although no replacement for formal disability access training, these resources are a good initial eye-opener into life with an illness or condition that affects your ability to attend events such as conferences.

The following seven points are key areas to address:

  1. Quiet spaces – conferences can be busy, bustling, crowded spaces. Consider that your attendees are a neuro diverse group; individuals with sensory processing conditions, on the autistic spectrum, and with Aspergers, may find dealing with this atmosphere difficult for extended periods of time. Set aside a room or a suite of rooms that are designated quiet areas, with the option of low lighting and space to be in comfortable personal space. This will allow recharging of batteries and could be the difference between people making it to afternoon sessions or walking away from the conference.
  2. Fridges – some medication, such as insulin, can be temperature sensitive. It only takes a small portable fridge to be located at a secure location, such as a constantly occupied reception, to allow those with such sensitive medication to attend.
  3. Adequate seating – welcomed by all conference attendees, but particularly those with conditions that limit their mobility or stamina for standing for extended periods of time. Common areas such as corridors and halls should have plenty of seating, with seats designated for people who identify as needing to get off their feet. It’s important that all staff and volunteers are aware that this may often be people with “invisible” disabilities and health issues that are either not immediately apparent or that the person involved does not wish to disclose the nature of.
  4. Toilet facilities – beyond the obvious need for accessible toilets that have facilities for those with limited mobility or the need for space to check and change medical equipment such as colostomy bags, invisible disabilities and health issues often result in the need for easy and quick access to toilets. Conference facilities should have toilets that are quick to access from all seminar rooms, as individuals with conditions including Coeliac disease, IBS, endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, and colitis needing speedy access with limited warning time.
  5. Dietary Requirements – Conference food should be accessible to all, especially in cases where other dining options are not readily available. As well as providing vegetarian and vegan option, there should be options for gluten free (with 1 in 100 people in the UK a Coeliac, that could be a significant number of your attendees), lactose free (often those with gut health issues need to refrain from eating lactose), and plain options that are free from common IBS triggers. Although this may seem daunting from a catering point of view, with forward planning and facilitating the statement of dietary requirements a compulsory part of conference registration, there will be enough forewarning to plan accordingly.
  6. Written resources – when producing abstract booklets, conference packs and other written materials, consider large print, printing on difference coloured papers, and producing PDFs of the materials that can be downloaded onto smartphones or tablets then read aloud by accessibility software.
  7. Information in advance – for facilities such as parking, nearby food facilities, venue layout, it’s of high importance to make the information available as early as possible, in a prominent and easy to find location on the conference web page and social media. Knowing that parking is within tolerable walking distance, or that there will be a toilet within two minutes of the room you’re speaking in may make the difference between attending and not.

This list is not exhaustive, and is designed to give a basic guide to good practice rather than be definitive. These simple steps could make the difference between your conferences and events being welcoming or daunting prospects.

Penelope Foreman

PhD Candidate, Bournemouth University

Follow Penny on Twitter through @Susmounds

How can we include more enabled participants in contemporary archaeology?

There are so many approaches and ideas that can aid inclusion. Within this short blog post I will put down the ones I feel are the most major for our vast archaeological community.

Enabled Archaeology Foundation

Within the Enabled Archaeology Foundation (E.A.F) which will be established by the end of May 2017 we will be introducing specific archaeological awareness training which will consist of both invisible and visible dis/Abilities. Categories will detail the largest mental health and physical issues so that people with no experience of disabilities/Abilities will have guidelines to take away with them to their unit, training dig, community dig, museum, or office. We will be also issuing awareness cards which will aid the inclusion of enabled participants. For instance how to enable a blind participant to draw record and monitor contexts.

General Approaches

Practically, by meeting and getting to know any one of us with a dis/Ability it has been proven by many studies that people’s worry, suspicions, and concerns can be negated which then leads to a favourable opinion/perspective of all dis/Abilities. Within this training most if not all the deliverers will be enabled.

In training excavations, the use of a ‘buddy’ whereby the (dis/Abled) enabled student or participant can specially ask for help (Phillips and Gilchrist, 2007) if needed is a great boon. Although it is highly recommended when doing this that unless the enabled participant asks some-one else to aid them, that no one else on the dig tries to help or intervene in any way. Although other participants may find it difficult not to intervene it aids the enabled participants self-worth, esteem, and confidence when they are able to do the job for themselves however arduous. An example of this is when I was on a training dig someone saw me struggling as I was learning self-coping strategies to place earth in a wheelbarrow. They just picked up my bucket and chucked the earth into the wheelbarrow. The person concerned thought they were being kind, but in truth it then took me just that little longer to find the self-coping strategy which meant I could then easily do it myself, which then built hope my self-esteem.


Giving enabled archaeologist a week’s free try out on a job, will mean that you can judge the competency of a person’s Ability to do the job rather than any perceived disability. If you as an employer have no experience of dis/Abilities, by working with an enabled person it has been proven in many quarters that any worries, concerns, or suspicions can be negated, which in turn brings favourable perspectives towards all dis/Abilities.

The image shows a man and a child writing on a wall. The man is using his toes to enable himself. The slogan reads 'Its not being normal that's important - but learning to accept our being different: to live (and let live) and love as fully as we can'.

A Different Perspective

Inclusion can look difficult to employers when it comes to Health and Safety and Insurance for enabled archaeologists. Both of these perceived issues have already been addressed by freelance enabled archaeologists, as they hold their own insurance and liability from Towergate Insurance which costs employers nothing but can also aid peace of mind to an employer.

By listening to wheelchair and cane users, who view their equipment as transport and life liberating, allowing them to get from A to B independently, the idea that enabled participants with equipment are to be pitied for having to use their equipment can be turned on its head.

Finally, just as each of us need to break through our comfort zone to really grow and develop as archaeologists. I ask each and every-one of you, will you break out and aid enabled archaeological inclusion?


Theresa O’Mahony

E.A.F, Enabled Facebook Group

If you would like to find out more:

Watch Theresa’s session at CIfA 2017 (Breaking down Barriers to inclusion) by clicking this link: Please click to go to video. 

You can find the Enabled Facebook Group by clicking this link: Please click here. 

You can follow Theresa on Facebook or Twitter (and we strongly recommend you do as she is ace!)

My take on CIfA conference 2017: A lot to do about cheese!

From 19-21 April I was given the opportunity to visit CIfA conference in Newcastle. Now I did visit once before, last year in Leicester, but this year I was actually going to speak. Me! Making a point. At CIfA. In the session ‘How are we making archaeology accessible to all and are we doing it well enough?’. About diversity and archaeology. And cheese … Cheese? Yes, and this why … As I said, I had already visited the conference last year and found out that this beautiful archaeological association has its own ‘Equality & Diversity’ group. It was a complete eye opener for me that this could even exist in the field of archaeology. And that was when I first started wondering why we do not have such a group in the Netherlands. We are very good in uniting ourselves in all kinds of small specialty groups (not so much in uniting ourselves as a branch though…), so why not a diversity group? The possibilities and opportunities I discovered at the conference and within this group made me think of the social importance of archaeology. These possibilities are often untapped in the Netherlands, where community archaeology is still in its infancy. I began to wonder if we are lagging behind in the Netherlands or if something else might be going on. Since I had met Therese O’Mahony (Enabled Archaeology) at the conference and we seemed to be on the same page in giving everyone a chance in life, we kept in touch. Then a question came from Enabled Archaeology: they were given the opportunity to organise a session during the next CIfA conference, under the flag of the Equality and Diversity group. They were looking for abstracts. So, I figured: ‘Oh well, it’s not like I will be chosen to speak, so I might as well offer the support by handing in an abstract to show that there are people in the Netherlands thinking about some change in accessibility’. I decided to present an abstract from the globalization point of view, from the Dutch perspective, and I decided to include the questions that were still in my mind: Why is there an Equality and Diversity Group within British archaeology, but not in for instance the Netherlands? Is there a necessity for an ‘Equality & Diversity Group’ within British archaeology because there are more problems in the UK with equality in archaeology? Or might there be a group like this within the UK because Britain has raised more awareness around diversity issues? What are archaeologists doing abroad to make archaeology accessible for everyone, if anything?

About One and a half months later, I received an email: I was one of the ‘chosen ones’! Ehr…, yes, great! But that was not part of the plan! Now I had to actually find the answers to my questions …. How to go about doing that?! I decided to interview people who have been dealing with this subject far longer than me. Not only archaeologists, but also others in the heritage world. And that was so much fun! I had such open, honest, and inspiring conversations. And fortunately, somewhere during these interviews, things were starting to make some sort of sense. I was able to draw some conclusions and I was growing very curious how UK archaeologists would respond to these conclusions.

Dr van der Sommen Speaking at CIfA 2017

Marloes speaking about social roles and the interviews she conducted.

So, I was working towards the 20th of April, D-day, and I discovered my presentation would be the one just after the unmatched Therese O’Mahony, who speaks with so much passion about accessibility and inclusiveness. That meant I had to come up with something unique, something that would stick, that could hold a candle to the fiery presentation of Theresa… and then, in the middle of the night, it came to me: cheese…. I had to have actual cheese. I of course am a Dutch Cheese Girl!

Image of Theresa O'Mahony Speaking at CIfA 2017

Image of Theresa Speaking at CIfA 2017

I’m not quite sure how I got so lucky, but someone started a discussion on twitter on the 19th of April, the lack of cheese tasting during a presentation being the topic…and just like that: the rumour of cheese started buzzing around.

So, before I started my presentation, I introduced my cheese platter, since we Dutch love our cheeses! I had a great Danish Blue, a lovely French Brie, of course a sturdy English Cheddar, and last but not least a Dutch Gouda, and asked the audience to keep them in mind. I could not have asked for a better and more involved audience, so I could make my chain of thoughts quite clear during the presentation. I told the story of choosing my topic for my thesis (sadly not combining women studies and archaeology), the first research steps in discovering the range of diversity in Dutch archaeology (which is lacking, but can easily be dismissed apparently…), and the common denominators in the interviews (we’re not doing enough, we’re not even close to being diverse in Dutch archaeology, people from different target groups in the community do not recognise themselves in the stories we bring to the public). We are running behind in these matters, in comparison with other European countries. Diversity has so much to offer in for instance interpreting our data, we are actually selling science short by not including all these diverse people, all these ‘minority’ groups, these different perspectives. I painted the picture of the differences in background and culture between the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany.

In conclusion, I debated that in the Netherlands we are not getting everyone involved. Not because we don’t want to, we’re simply not aware of the phenomenon diversity. Awareness seems to be a cultural phenomenon which the Dutch at this point seem to lack culture and background for. But all is not lost: in the Netherlands a revenue model might be the answer to making diversity an urgent necessity. The big question though: Can we benefit from exchange of knowledge? I think we should acknowledge that every country, every culture has to analyse where they stand in raising awareness. Solutions are as diverse as the people involved. We can exchange knowledge, but we need to be aware it needs a customized approach. There has to be a matrix to begin with, or you don’t have a place to anchor that knowledge. Back to my cheese platter: the common denominator here is that everything on the platter is cheese, but as in raising awareness, the cheeses have to be cultivated in different ways to fit the taste of particular groups of people. They all taste great in their own way. But if you treat them wrong…they will stink!

Marloes concluding with her cheese board at CIfA 2017

Dr van der Sommen sums up her findings with her wonderful cheeseboard at CIfA 2017

This presentation is of course not the end of my journey: I did speak (both in person and on twitter) with some of you and I want to keep the lines of communication wide open to exchange ideas. I also spoke to some colleagues and students in the Netherlands after the conference and we all seem to agree: time for change has arrived! We are aware that some of us don’t feel safe within our working environment and we have to raise more awareness. My next step will be: writing an article for a website on heritage in the Netherlands, a social call to get everyone involved in collecting ideas on making the workplace save for everyone. Awareness will be the number one goal at this stage and in my point of view diverse people working in archaeology and diverse target groups in public archaeology are communicating vessels.

I am still convinced: If we, as archaeologists, do not take responsibility in involvement, we will not only lose these target groups for public archaeology, we will lose all relevance within society!

Link to paper: Please Click Here

Drs. M.P.H. van der Sommen, The Netherlands,

twitter: @MarloesvdSommen

Instagram: @mph.van.der.sommen  

Equality and Diversity Group statement (CIfA conference 2017)

Equality and Diversity Group statement on Conference Accessibility and Diversity (PDF version)

The image shows the text 'CIfA Equality and Diversity Group' in Pink text. This is the logo of this CIfA group.

The Equality and Diversity Group welcome the statement by CIfA rapidly responding to the disappointment and anger over the all-male panel in a session discussing professional standards and ethics at the 2017 conference. This single event, however, should be viewed within the context of structural inequality, barriers to accessibility and lack of diversity in conferences, and indeed the underlying institutions, more generally. As acknowledged in CIfA’s statement, considerable research and work has been and continues to be done by other groups to address these underlying problems.


We will be working closely with CIfA to ensure that new practices are a genuine benchmark within the industry, and that they are put in place in partnership with those who are already producing advice and guidance in these areas. Our aim is that the event at the 2017 conference and the frustration which it has rightly engendered is a catalyst for embedding equality, diversity and accessibility in the planning, organisation and hosting of all future conferences and events.


We see this as a positive opportunity for change and are very keen to invite any individuals or groups who want to work with us or share experiences about conference diversity and accessibility to contact us:

Find the CIfA statement about Diversity at conferences by clicking this link

Twitter: @CIfA_Equality


Sexism in the archaeological discipline : The situation in the French-speaking world

Laura (@anemonenyme) runs Paye ta truelle” – highlighting sexism and gender bias in the archaeology profession in the French-Speaking world. In this blog, Laura talks to us about Sexism in archaeology in the French-speaking world, for International Women’s Day 2017.

This article is written in English (first half) and French (second half)

C/W: Sexism, harrassment 

February 11th was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. For this occasion, I was interested in the figures provided by UNESCO and I unfortunately noticed that women remain under-represented in research in all regions of the world. One of the main reasons for this result is sexism, which is still firmly rooted in our societies, with which women are constantly confronted. Because 8th March is the International Women’s Day, here is a quick reminder of ways in which sexism is still present in our everyday life: It takes the form of inappropriate prejudices, remarks, gestures and behavior, but also self-censorship and uneven distribution of domestic tasks. It appears in reduced access to and continuation of studies, marginalization and invisibilization of women’s work, as well as increased difficulties obtaining or retaining a full-time position, lower wages, less funding and limited prospects for advancement compared to their male counterparts. Besides, sexism is often coupled with racism, classicism, and other parameters such as age, sexual orientation, religious practices, (dis)ability, health or physical appearance. There are just too many hurdles to overcome…

In this article, I will attempt to give you a panorama of the situation in Europe, focusing in particular on French speaking countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland) and the archaeological discipline. Brace yourself, numbers and statistics are coming.

The first thing to note is that female graduates, although more numerous and with better results on average than their male counterparts, do not automatically become researchers. In France, 58% of women are studying at the BA and MA level. However, the trend is reversed at the doctorate level where they are only 47% who obtain the grade and 26% who continue to have careers in the research. In 2014, only  29% of directors of scientific institutions were women. In Belgium and Switzerland, the figures are 56% and 49% respectively for BA and MA level, 46% and 45% studying at the doctoral level and 33% and 32% involved in postdoctoral research. This observation remains relevant to archeology. At the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 2013-2014 for example, female students in history, archeology and art history were more numerous in baccalaureate (204 out of 349 students) and in master (123 out of 207), but their number drops at the entrance to the doctorate where they are only 72 to continue against 78 men, although they were in minority until then. 

Secondly, it is clear that the proportion of women in scientific disciplines is progressing slowly. According to the latest survey available from the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research published in October 2016, it has only increased in France by 4% in ten years (2004-2005 / 2014-2015). 

Moreover, when they reach the status of researcher, they immediately collide with the glass ceiling, whether in terms of equal pay, obtaining a full-time position, or promotion. In France, Belgium and Switzerland, women are generally paid less than men (17.9% less). In the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) for example, they were paid 6% less than their male colleagues in 2014 – whilst better than the national average, is not yet equality ! Women are also more likely to obtain part-time positions (13.5% vs. 8.5% for men) or precarious contracts (10.8% vs. 7.3% for men) and the possibilities of advancement remain low. In this regard, it is interesting to note in the academic world that while the female-to-male ratio is relatively balanced for assitant jobs (45% women / 55% men), the imbalance becomes striking for professors (37% / 63%) and full professors (21% / 79%). They are also fewer women in managerial and supervisory positions (rector, vice-president, administrative director, etc.), while being more present in teaching, administrative or among specialists, a fact that can easily be extended to the professional world. In France for example, between 2014 and 2016, of the 64 heads of territorial services in preventive archeology, only 19 are women. Women are also more numerous among the specialists (61%), but less represented among the operational managers (37%) and the operating technicians (38%). The field work remaining the prerogative of men.

It was also noted that, on average, women publish less than men, are less frequently cited by their peers if they appear as the sole author of an article, are less invited to symposiums and are therefore generally less well evaluated than their male colleagues because of the criteria used to judge the excellence of a candidate are based, among other things, on the number of publications and citations.

To this, remarks (paternalistic comments, unwanted comments on physical appearance, etc.) and sexist attitudes (confiscation of speech at a conference, discrediting the work provided, etc.), sexual harassment, violence and sexual assault are added.

When will you leave us alone ?

This is where “Paye ta truelle” comes in.

The objectives of this project are, on the one hand, to liberate speech by collecting and sharing testimonies of sexism in the archaeological world (universities and work sites), support victims and legitimize their experiences, and on the other hand, to draw attention to a problem that many people do not see or still refuse to see.

Focusing on the French-speaking world, it has to bring closer to many other “Paye ton / ta” projects, whose the initiative amounts to Anaïs Bourdet, an independent feminist activist and creator of the project “Paye ta Shnek” which has been fighting against sexist harassment in public space since 2012. The launching of “Paye ta truelle” started at the end of January 2017 and follows a call for testimonials launched two months ago via the feminist magazine Simonæ where I am an editor. Relayed on various social networks, many people came to me to share their experiences anonymously and the whole was then compiled in a distressing report: remarks on the physical appearance, questioning of professional skills, paternalistic comments, sexual undertones, harassment and sexual assaults, sometimes coupled with racism, on the part of male supervisors (site manager or memory manager, sector manager, university professor, president of the thesis jury), co-workers, acquaintances or friends. As in many other areas, the rule of silence is law. The fear of being recognized and consequently losing a place in a team, being poorly rated on an internship report, or seeing the harassment increase after speaking is real, especially when displaced remarks, attitudes and gestures emanate from a hierarchical superior. Moreover, these acts are still often minimized, the guilt of the victim is frequent and the framework structures are lacking. We really need to work on that.

I will finish this short article with a series of advice to men, applicable from the first-year university student to the professor site director :

  • Listen to the women with respect
  • Support equality on your own projects (among your trench supervisors, your specialists, etc.) 
  • React to sexist remarks and behaviours 
  • Actively support your female students and colleagues if they are the target of sexism, do not let a favorable climate for sexual harassment and assaults settle 
  • In case of harassment or sexual assault, believe the victim without judging or minimizing the facts, show your support by ensuring her safety (against herself or a third party) and guaranteeing her anonymity if she wishes, guide her to resources (medical, legal, police, associations) 
  • Accept to question your own behavior.

Step by step, we will be able to make a difference. Take care of yourself !

Laura MARY.

Le sexisme en archéologie : La situation dans le monde francophone

Le 11 février dernier, c’était la journée internationale des femmes et des filles en science. Pour l’occasion, je m’étais attardée sur les chiffres fournis par l’UNESCO et j’avais pu constater, sans grande surprise malheureusement, que les femmes restent sous-représentées dans la recherche dans toutes les régions du monde. Une des raisons principales à cet état de fait est le sexisme toujours bien ancré dans nos sociétés auquel les femmes doivent continuellement faire face. Il se matérialise sous la forme de préjugés, remarques, gestes et comportements inappropriés, mais aussi d’autocensure et une répartition des tâches domestiques toujours inégale. Il transparait également dans des possibilités d’accès et de poursuite des études réduites, la marginalisation, le passage sous silence et l’invisibilisation de leur travail, ainsi que dans les difficultés accrues pour obtenir ou garder un poste à temps plein, des salaires inférieurs, des financements moindres et des perspectives d’avancement restreintes par rapport à leurs homologues masculins. Sans compter que ce sexisme est de plus souvent couplé au racisme, classicisme, et d’autres paramètres tels que l’âge, l’orientation sexuelle, les pratiques religieuses, l’(in)validité, la santé ou encore l’apparence physique. Un sacré parcours de la combattante…

Dans cet article, je tâcherai de vous dresser dans un même temps un panorama de la situation en Europe en centrant en particulier mon attention sur les pays francophones (France, Belgique, Suisse) et la discipline archéologique.

Accrochez-vous, avalanche de chiffres et de statistiques.

Ce qu’il faut en premier lieu noter, c’est que les diplômées, pourtant plus nombreuses et affichant en moyenne de meilleurs résultats que leurs homologues masculins, ne deviennent pas automatiquement des chercheuses. En France, les femmes sont majoritaires à 58% en licence. Cependant, la tendance s’inverse dès le doctorat où elles ne sont plus que 47% à obtenir le grade et 26% à poursuivre dans la recherche. Elles n’étaient également que 29% à être à la tête d’une institution scientifique en 2014. En Belgique et en Suisse, les chiffres sont respectivement de 56% et 49% pour la licence, 46% et 45% pour le doctorat et 33% et 32% pour la recherche. Cette observation demeure pertinente pour le domaine de l’archéologie. À l’Université catholique de Louvain (Belgique) en 2013-2014, les étudiantes en histoire, archéologie et histoire de l’art étaient plus nombreuses en baccalauréat (204 sur 349 étudiant.e.s) et en master (123 sur 207), mais leur nombre chute dès le doctorat où elles ne sont plus que 72 à poursuivre, contre 78 hommes, pourtant minoritaires jusque-là.

Ensuite, force est de constater que la proportion de femmes dans les disciplines scientifiques progresse lentement. Selon la dernière enquête disponible du ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche publiée en octobre 2016, elle n’a progressé en France que de 4% en dix ans (2004-2005/2014-2015).

Par ailleurs, lorsqu’elles parviennent au statut de chercheuse, elles se heurtent immédiatement au plafond de verre, que ce soit en termes d’égalité salariale, d’obtention de poste à temps plein, ou encore de montée en grade. En France, en Belgique et en Suisse, les femmes sont en effet en général moins bien payées que les hommes (17,9% de moins) [10]. En ce qui concerne l’Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (INRAP) par exemple, elles étaient payées en 2014 6% de moins que leurs collègues masculins [11]. Les femmes sont également plus nombreuses à obtenir des postes à temps partiel (13,5% contre 8,5% pour les hommes) ou des contrats précaires (10,8% contre 7,3% pour les hommes), et les possibilités d’avancement restent minces.. A ce sujet, il est intéressant de constater dans le monde académique que si le ratio femme-homme est relativement équilibré pour les postes d’assitant.e.s (45% de femmes/55% d’hommes), le déséquilibre devient flagrant pour les postes de professeur.e.s (37%/63%) et de professeur.e.s ordinaires (21%/79%). Elles sont également peu nombreuses voir absentes à certains postes de direction et d’encadrement (,, directeur.rice d’administration etc.) tandis qu’elles sont davantage présentes pour les tâches pédagogiques, administratives ou spécialisés, un constat que l’on peut sans difficulté étendre au monde professionnel. En France par exemple, entre 2014 et 2016, sur les 64 chef.fe.s de services territoriaux en archéologie préventive, 19 sont des femmes. Elles sont aussi plus nombreuses parmi les spécialistes (61%), mais moins représentées parmi les responsables d’opération (37%) et les technicien.nes d’opération (38%), le travail de terrain restant l’apanage des hommes.

Il a également été noté qu’elles publient en moyenne moins que les hommes, elles sont moins citées par leurs pairs si elles apparaissent en auteure unique d’un article, sont moins invitées aux colloques et sont donc en général moins bien évaluées que leurs collègues masculins étant donné que les critères employés pour juger l’excellence d’un.e candidat.e se basent entre autres sur le nombre de publications et de citations [14 ; 15 ; 16 ; 17]. Le serpent qui se mord la queue en somme. A cela, viennent s’ajouter les remarques (propos paternalistes, commentaires non-désirés sur le physique, sous-entendus sexuels) et attitudes sexistes (confiscation de la parole lors d’une conférence, déconsidération du travail fourni), le harcèlement sexuel et moral, les violences et agressions sexuelles. [18 ; 19 ; 20 ; 21 ; 22 ; 23] On ne nous aura donc rien épargné….

Et c’est là qu’intervient Paye ta truelle”.

Les objectifs de ce projet sont d’une part de libérer la parole par le recueil et le partage de témoignages de sexisme dans le milieu archéologique (université et chantiers), d’assurer notre soutien aux victimes et de légitimer leurs expériences, d’autre part d’attirer l’attention sur un problème que beaucoup ne voient pas ou refusent encore de voir.

Centré sur le monde francophone, il s’inscrit dans la ligne directe des nombreux autres projets « Paye ton/ta », dont l’initiative revient à Anaïs Bourdet, militante féministe indépendante et créatrice du projet “Paye ta Shnek“qui lutte contre le harcèlement sexiste dans l’espace public depuis 2012. La mise en place de “Paye ta truelle remonte quant à elle à fin janvier 2017 et fait suite un appel à témoignages lancé deux mois plus tôt via le magazine féministe Simonæ où je suis rédactrice. Relayé sur les différents réseaux sociaux, de nombreuses personnes étaient alors venues me trouver pour me transmettre leurs expériences de manière anonyme et l’ensemble avait ensuite été compilé dans un compte-rendu détaillant toute l’ampleur du problème : remarques sur le physique, remise en question des aptitudes professionnelles, propos paternalistes, sous-entendus sexuels, harcèlement et agressions sexuel.le.s, le tout parfois couplé à du racisme, de la part de supérieurs hiérarchiques masculins (directeur de chantier ou de mémoire, responsable de secteur, professeur d’université, président du jury de thèse), de collègues de travail, de connaissances ou d’ami.e.s. Comme dans de nombreux autres domaines, la règle du silence fait loi. La peur d’être reconnue et par conséquent de perdre sa place au sein d’une équipe, d’être mal cotée à son rapport de stage ou à son mémoire, ou de voir le harcèlement s’amplifier après la prise de parole est bien réelle, surtout lorsque les remarques, attitudes et gestes déplacés émanent d’un supérieur hiérarchique. Par ailleurs, ces actes demeurent encore souvent minorisés, la culpabilisation de la victime est fréquente et les structures d’encadrement manquent.

Je terminerai donc ce petit article sur une série de conseils aux hommes, de l’étudiant en première année d’université au professeur ordinaire directeur de chantier :

  • Ecoutez les femmes avec respect ;
  • Soutenez l’égalité sur vos propres chantiers (parmi vos responsables de secteur, vos spécialistes, etc.) ;
  • Réagissez aux remarques et comportements sexistes ;
  • Soutenez activement vos étudiantes et collègues si elles en sont la cible afin de ne pas laisser s’installer un climat de complicité machiste propice aux harcèlement et agressions sexuel.le.s ;
  • En cas de harcèlement ou d’agression sexuelle, croyez la victime sans la juger ni minimiser les faits, manifestez-lui votre soutien en assurant sa sécurité (contre elle-même ou un tiers) et en garantissant son anonymat si elle souhaite, guidez-la vers des ressources (médicales, légales, police, associations) ;
  • Acceptez de remettre en question votre propre comportement.

Étape par étape, nous parviendrons à faire bouger les choses. Prenez soin de vous !

Laura MARY.


[1] UNESCO, Sciences et égalités de genre, Les femmes, agents du changement, [].

[2] UNESCO, 2015. Women in Science, []

[3] UNESCO, 2015. Science Report. Towards 2030,  []

[4] UNESCO, Les femmes et la science, [!lang=fr].

[5] JALINIÈRE H., 2014. Pas assez de femmes dans la recherche scientifique, Sciences et Avenir, [].

[6] Université catholique de Louvain, Rapport annuel sur l’égalité de genre. 2013-2014, [].

[7] Enquête du ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, octobre 2016, []

[8] PIGEYRE F. et SABATIER M., 2011. Les carrières des femmes à l’université : une synthèse de résultats de recherche dans trois disciplines, dans Politiques et management public. Le plafond de verre dans l’administration, enjeux et démarches de changement.

[9] ATTANÉ I., BRUGEILLES C. et RAULT W., 2015. Atlas mondial des femmes. Les paradoxes de l’émancipation, Paris.

[10] Rapport « She Figures 2015 » de la Commission européenne, 2013, [].

[11] Observatoire 2016 de l’égalité entre femmes et hommes dans la culture et la communication, site officiel du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, [].

[12] GIRARD H., 2017. Parité : Comment le ministère de la Culture met la pression sur les collectivités, la gazette des communes.

[13] CONKEY M. W. et SPECTOR J. D., 1984. Archaeology and the Study of Gender, dans M. Schiffer (dir.), Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, t. 7, p. 1-38.

[14] BARTHÉLÉMY P., 2013. De graves inégalités hommes-femmes dans la recherche mondiale, []

[15] The World Map of Female to Male Productivity Ratio, []

[16] LARIVIÈRE V. et al., 2013. Bibliometrics: Global gender disparities in science, Nature, [].

[17] VAN DEN BRINK M. C. L., 2015. Myths about Meritocracy and Transparency : The Role of Gender in Academic Recruitment, Research Gate, [].

[18] GEWIN V., 2015. Social behaviour: Indecent advances, Nature 519, p. 251-253, []

[19] WRIGHT R. P., 2008. Sexual Harassment and Professional Ethics, The SAA Archaeological Record, p. 27-30.

[20] MEYERS M. et al., 2015. Preliminary Results of the SEAC Sexual Harassment Survey. Horizon and Tradition, The Newsletter of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference 57 (1), p. 19-35.

[21] BURATTI C., 2015. Le harcèlement sexuel à l’université n’est pas un phénomène marginal, Le Monde, [].

[22] DUBOULOZ C., 2016. Mobilisation contre le harcèlement sexuel à l’université, Le Temps, [].

[23] Projet de loi relatif à l’enseignement supérieur et à la recherche : A la recherche d’un nouvel équilibre hommes-femmes dans l’enseignement supérieur et la recherche, rapport de 2013, site officiel du Sénat, [].

What can I do?

If you have been thinking ‘I want to do something about equality and diversity but I don’t know what’ – you are not alone! It can be easy to want to do something but harder to know exactly what you can do. Never fear, help is at hand! Here are some ideas of what you can do from knowing where to read up on topics to joining a working group to effect change.


Knowledge is Power

One of the simplest actions you can do is to become more aware of equality and diversity issues. Keep an eye out for articles in the press, make an effort to read any equality and diversity updates in work newsletters, and look at social media about issues that appear on your timeline. If you’re looking for something bite sized to start off with BBC Three have a range of short videos entitled ‘Things not to Say’ which could be a could place to start .

The Equality and Diversity Group offers a resources page on our website with links to further reading at . We’re always looking for resources to add so do get in touch if you have any suggestions. We also share information via our Twitter feed ( so it is worth following for news and resources.

It is also really important to listen to others, especially when they share their experiences with you. It could be a friend, relative or colleague. It could even be a speaker at a conference. By listening first it may help you avoid making assumptions about the equality and diversity issues out there.

Being more aware of the topic and the issues involved makes it easier to support friends and colleagues and advocate for greater equality and diversity in general. Your growing awareness will help you to recognise discrimination more easily. It is not always easy to spot – you may not be aware it is even happening.


Individual Actions

At our CIfA workshop in 2016 we looked at the different levels actions need to occur at. It can be all too easy to wait for organisational or sector change rather than enacting change within your own network. There are individual actions we can all take such as being more considerate, supporting others when we see discrimination happening and helping to signpost relevant material so that others can learn more about the issues too. Our workshop participants helped put together a list of possible actions you can do now, within a year and the in the future. These can all be found in our workshop write-up at .


Join the Equality and Diversity Group

Another way to get involved is to join the Equality and Diversity Group. Membership is open to all. It is free for CIfA members and £10 per year for non-CIfA members. Members received regular updates and can participate in our working groups. Members also get a discount on any fee-paying events we run such as our upcoming Mental Health First Aid Course (see for more details).

CIfA members who would like to join just need to e-mail and ask to be added to the list. Non-CIfA members who want to join can do so through the Groups page (we’re under Groups A-J) .


Join a working group

There is a lot of work that needs doing on equality and diversity issues. We need more than just the committee to move things forward. Therefore we have started to set up working groups to help us take forward specific pieces of work. In 2017 we have decided to concentrate on the theme of disability and so our working group is a Disability working group. At the moment the group is focusing on:-

  • Enhancing the resources available on the Equality and Diversity Group website relating to Disability
  • Assisting with revising the CIfA guidance on disability in the workplace.

Depending on capacity we may also undertake other tasks as they year progresses.

Membership of the working group is open to anyone who has joined the Equality and Diversity Group – you don’t need to be a CIfA member to do this (see above). If you are interested in joining or would like to know more contact our secretary .


Join the Equality and Diversity Group committee

We currently have openings on the committee, especially for the position of Treasurer. If you would like to be more involved and help steer the group – this is your opportunity! You have to be a CIfA member in order to apply. If you are interested you need to complete and return a nomination form by 17th February so that it can go to vote at our AGM on 7th March. For more details, and to get a copy of the nomination form, visit .


These are just a few ideas of how you can become more involved in equality and diversity. If you have any other ideas please add them to the comments below or contact us at .