Proposed Organisation/Sector Actions – Table discussions

Training, Training, Training!

  • Mental health awareness training
  • Ensure work-placed equality and diversity training and facilitation is in place and mandatory for all employees – mainstream this as a part of automatic workplace cultures
  • Organisations needed to be more proactive in providing equality and diversity specific training.
  • Companies have a wider obligation to protect their staff through exposure to the physical and mental pressures of work. It was felt that there is a lack of understanding within the industry of what long-term effects the requirements of the job are placing on people, and that we are a long way behind other industries in identifying these health risks and introducing directives and working practices to minimise them. The extension of this is that many people now suffer long-term illnesses (physical and mental) as a direct result of their working life, and there should be a greater duty of care placed upon the companies and organisations.

Think Carefully

  • Review recruitment processes considering equality and diversity issues
  • Disciplinary culture puts some people off (e.g. drinking, closely shared living facilities, etc.). How can we change that?
  • Broadening pathways into management or senior roles within commercial organisations in particular. The narrow breadth of the career path and the rigidity of ‘traditional’ routes through a typical archaeological firm or consultancy can make it particularly difficult for women to advance to those roles.


  • Companies need to provide the right equipment. This discussion was mainly around the lack of availability of gender-specific PPE, but it ultimately also covered the generally poor level of equipment provided to staff by companies.

Assess and Compare

  • Don’t just allow employers to do ‘tick box’ equality and diversity – implement, monitor and demonstrate performance against specific measurable targets/objectives
  • There was some discussion about the ratio of women to men in ‘specialist’ roles in archaeological units or consultancies. There were no figures we were aware of on which to empirically base the discussion, but it was felt, at least anecdotally, that specialisms may offer a more flexible work/life balance into which women either move or are pushed. The knock-on effect of this is that specialist roles are often career ‘dead ends’ with no progression to senior management. It was agreed that more data in this area would be incredibly useful.
  • Self-reflection within organisations is to be strongly encouraged, preferably through pressure from within from their own staff. Companies should be encouraged to be unafraid in searching out areas where they may be underperforming and putting them right. Where possible this should be empirical and data-driven.

Take Action!

  • Have equality officer
  • Have equalities procedure
  • To have reporting procedures that are independent of hierarchy in organisations
  • Have formal equality and diversity advocates embedded throughout an organisation, and provide them with on-going training, support and crucially time to actively contribute


  • Ensure equality and diversity compliance by suppliers of products and services – refuse to work with those organisations that cannot demonstrate active commitment to equality and diversity
  • Promote in the public consciousness equality and diversity within the profession, e.g. in media opportunities, public access to sites, etc. (but don’t just make this a ‘public access’ / disability issue)
  • Archaeology and [post-]colonialism: it’s still often a reality or perception of ‘white people in foreign countries’ (including things like the British ‘schools’ in Rome, etc., also UK funding for international fieldwork). How do we challenge this?
  • Archaeology and religion, especially ‘creationism’ that runs counter to scientific studies of the deep past: what’s our disciplinary position and approach to this?


  • Technology can be divisive, unequal
  • Embed heritage better in schools to appeal to a wider demographic – help teachers build their confidence in teaching what they may perceive of as ‘difficult’ subjects like prehistory by providing accessible teaching materials
  • Promote archaeology within wider place-making and identity building to get a wider demographic involved