Meghan Markle has voiced her support for a campaign aiming to “decolonise the curriculum” by ensuring there are more black professors working in universities in her pioneering political intervention since joining the royal family.
The movement wants to confront the “male, pale and stale” professors and ensure there is more diversity among teachers in higher education. Data from 2018 by Equality and Higher education staff statistical report showed out of 14,205 male professors, more than 12,000 were white and just 90 were black. In 2016, Oxford University students campaigned to have the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the 19th Century colonialist and slave owner, removed from a university college.
One of the campaigners said Rhodes was:
“responsible for all manner of stealing land, massacring tens of thousands of black Africans, imposing a regime of unspeakable labour exploitation in the diamond mines and devising proto-apartheid policies”.
When the Duchess of Sussex became Patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, she made it clear she was surprised at the low diversity of professors in the UK.
When she was handed a sheet of data on a royal visit showing how most UK professors are white and male, she said: “Oh my God!”
A supporter of ethnic minority and female staff Manchester University, Dr Rachel Cowan said: “She was really surprised, she was like ‘oh my god, really, we need to get a photograph of this”.
According to the research from Advance Higher Education, 68 per cent of UK professors are white makes, 23 per cent are white females, 6.5 per cent are a black and minority ethnic males and two per cent black and minority ethnic female.
British universities have struggled to make progress in promoting black and other minority ethnic staff to senior positions.
Meera Sabaratnam, who leads the campaign to decolonise the curriculum at universities in London said:
“Many of the issues around racial equality are similar and it is great to see her embrace this. Change is long overdue.”
Written By: LAURA MOWAT
First Published 17.02.19: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1088407/meghan-markle-news-campaign-charity-work-university-education