Welcome to our voices hub, a place for everyone to speak out in a bid to better the balance

We were given the exciting opportunity to speak with a group of women who have first-hand experience of what life is really like in the world of academia; Professor Katy Shaw, is Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University; Dr Alison McAnena is Research Impact Officer for Social Sciences at the University of Reading; and Dr Helen Beddow is Gender and Diversity Publisher, at Emerald Publishing – each giving us a unique insight into the various challenges they faced during their academic careers.

From a lack of support from senior staff, to a lack of flexibility when it came to a work/life balance, the issues facing women in academia are clear, however they were each hopeful that people would begin to see it is time for change.

International Women’s Day – Katy Shaw
International Women’s Day – Helen Beddow
International Women’s Day – Alison McAnena
Professor Adriana Marotti
Professor Maria Sylvia Macchione Saes

Hear about Emerald’s Journey to Equality

Vicky Williams became our first-ever female CEO at the beginning of 2018 and set a clear goal to build a diverse workforce that leads to better decisions, and empowers real change. Academic publishing has long been characterised by a majority female workforce, male-dominated leadership, and a striking lack of diversity. Men are twice as likely as women to be in senior executive roles, and there is virtually no representation at senior levels from anyone identifying as black.

Our ethos is one of collaboration and partnership.  In 2018 Emerald partnered with an industry-wide Work Equity Project to publish a pioneering survey ‘Global Voices for Workplace Equity’ highlighting imbalances in global academic publishing.  A ‘hackathon’ with the ‘Women in Academia Support Group’, launched a website within 24 hours, providing a safer space for all women in academia to support each other, to build networks and to share knowledge.

STRIDE – empowering Emerald colleagues to create a culture of diversity and inclusion

We set up an internal group ‘STRIDE’ in 2016 to empower colleagues to create a culture of diversity and inclusion.  In two years the group has grown to over 124 members (nearly half of our workforce), organised over 25 talks, and established an active online community, posting 150 times a week.  It has a visible buzz in the business, with initiatives such as ‘women in tech day’ challenging gender-related perceptions of job roles.

What’s worked?

Lots. We have a 50/50 gender split at a senior level, are confident that men and women are paid equally for equivalent roles and have already seen an improvement in our gender pay gap this year. We have recently further enhanced our maternity/paternity/adoption policies and matched these to our shared parental leave entitlements to support working parents.  We are committed to sparking debate and making change happen externally, including taking a leading role and encouraging healthy debate.

Anthea Stratigos, CEO and Co-Founder of Outsell said of a speech Vicky gave in New York in June;

“The work you are doing at Emerald is tangible and far ahead than any other company I have seen. I applaud the work you are doing and the journey you are on – challenging us all to follow”

Anthea Stratigos, CEO and Co-Founder of Outsell

What we’ve learnt

The power of sharing and co-creation leads to better solutions. It’s important to recognise the journey and that small steps, rather grand gestures, will make a bigger difference in the long run. Also remember the importance of authenticity and not being a slave to the metrics.  Finally, embrace inclusiveness in its broadest sense – don’t make it an issue just for the feminists.

What’s next?

Internally, we will continue to embed key practices such as shared parental leave and flexible working; we recognise that our people may need to take time out of their working life to care for children or loved ones and we want to make this as easy as possible for them. Another focus for 2019 is for us to continue to make improvements to our recruitment process with the aim to remove as much bias as possible, not only in relation to gender, but to all protected characteristics. We will also look at the ways to support the development and career aspirations of our lower paid females and will encourage greater gender diversity in our digital and technical roles.

We are passionate about opening up communication to encourage learning, and knowledge.  In the last four years, over 3,000 articles we published related to gender issues – but our goal is to go further, commissioning more ‘thought provoking’ research. Last year, two of our published books sparked debates in the House of Lords regarding gender and equality.

As our CEO Vicky Williams puts it:

“Emerald is on a journey here, but a positive one. We are committed to sparking debate and creating real change, but it doesn’t happen overnight or by acting alone. It needs to real, authentic and backed up by actions. There’s a lot more we can do, but we’re in good shape.”

Vicky Williams , CEO of Emerald

Collaboration, knowledge sharing and support between mission-driven businesses and initiatives seeking to have positive social impact is so important.


Emerald’s Journey to Equality

Making a Real Impact by taking a stance.

View as PDF

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