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Lack of black female professors is a ‘failure in the system’

The underrepresentation of black female professors in UK higher education must be understood as a failure in the system to support them, according to the University and College Union.

In a UCU-commissioned report on the career experiences of black female professors in the UK, Nicola Rollock, a reader in equity and education at Goldsmiths, University of London, identifies the need for a “fundamental shift in how race and racism are understood” within UK higher education.

“Rather than starting from a de facto position of assumed fairness, institutions must recognise that how they engage and treat black female academics at each stage of the career trajectory has the potential for unfairness and bias and, in turn, affect their ability to progress successfully to professorship,” Rollock wrote in the report, published on 4 February.

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