Formerly known as BAME Recruitment

23 Sep 2022

Diversity Lens - Issue 143

Bringing you a diverse selection of news stories, social commentary, cultural recommendations and job opportunities from the past week.

 

Take our 30 second survey on hybrid working to vote for your future of work.
This week we said goodbye to one of the most recognised symbols of British culture whose reign is the only one most of us have ever known. Now public attention has moved away from the royal family following the funeral on Monday, we're left with similarly sobering feelings. The rapidly approaching colder weather, and several uncertainties surrounding the way we live and work, take hold of the UK. It is a time of multiple crises, the impact of which are beginning to be felt across the country, as we look desperately to the government for guidance on how to adapt.

In this week's newsletter we remember to celebrate some positives too, from the growing preference for a four day working week to small victories that support climate preservation.
 
Play: 
The Crucible

The 1953 play by Arthur Miller was resurrected this week by the National Theatre in Southbank, London. It takes the familiar story of the Salem witch hunt, where women were persecuted en masse under flimsy accusations of witchcraft. A group of girls "raised to be seen and not heard" take on a fearful group power, saving themselves by pointing the finger at others. 

This well-established play is truly breathtaking at the National, with exceptional performances all-round and high production levels which absorb you totally in the emotionally charged atmosphere. Sniffs from shed tears mixed poignantly with the standing ovation on Tuesday evening.
 
STORY OF THE WEEK

Mahsa Amini: Woman Dies After Arrest by Iran’s Morality Police

22-year-old Mahsa Amini fell into a coma and subsequently died after she was detained by Iran's "morality police". Her death has sparked outrage online and prompted wide-spread and growing protests.

Amini was detained by the specialist police unit on the grounds that she was not following Iran's strict dress code, obligatory for women, which dictates they cover their hair with a hijab and wear a long, loose-fitting tunic over their clothing. The legislation is deemed "abusive, degrading and discriminatory" by Amnesty International.

State television reported that three days after her arrest, Amini "suddenly suffered a heart problem" and was immediately taken to hospital. However, these circumstances are heavily doubted and accusations of abuse and ill-treatment have been made.
Since 2017, women have gained momentum in protests against mandatory dress codes, which has been met with tougher measures by the authorities. Earlier this year, surveillance cameras were introduced to root out and fine unveiled women.

This week, a mass movement in response to Amini's death has seen women burning their headscarves and cutting off their hair. Protests have escalated dramatically this week with police forcefully trying to disperse demonstrators with tear gas and metal pellets; a number of deaths have been reported. Internet access has been shut off in some parts of Iran as well as access to apps, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, that they perceive could stoke further protests.

This is not a fight against the hijab, but a fight for the right to choose, a fight for women's bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity.

 
IN OTHER NEWS
Indigenous Elders Have Defeated a Massive Australian Gas Company in Court

 



This week, a verdict was handed down that the local Indigenous people of the Tiwi Islands were not properly consulted about the drilling that began on their sacred land, and the drilling must stop. Traditional Owner and Senior Munupi Lawman Dennis Tipaklippa and the Munupi clan argued that the pipeline would disrupt sea turtles and the habitats of other marine life as well as doing irreparable damage to sacred sites deep at sea.

“We want Santos and all mining companies to remember—we are powerful, we will fight for our land and Sea Country, for our future generations no matter how hard and how long.”

New Report Links Rise in Book Bans to Anti-LGBTQ Groups
In a recent report, PEN America describes how at least 50 advocacy organisations ban LGBTQ-themed books from being used in schools and libraries. 81% of the books at the centre of these bans explicitly address LGBTQIA+ themes or feature LGBTQIA+ non-white protagonists. The groups that lobby against these books, and gain traction, can vary in size and scope, from small and local Facebook groups to national organisations. At least 20% of the book bans enacted during the 2021–22 academic year may be attributable to the actions of these groups. A recent survey found that the vast majority of Americans strongly disapprove of book bans. The poll indicates that 53% of Republicans, 95% of independents, and 80% of Democrats oppose book bans.
‘They’re failing women’: Met Police ‘isn’t always’ recording domestic abuse or stalking
In the latest of crises facing the Met Police force, an inspection has found damning evidence that they are not always reporting domestic abuse or stalking cases. It was also found that police were "failing to record reasonable grounds for carrying out a quarter of stop and searches". The report investigated several areas of the force and identified several key areas that need urgent improvement. The five areas requiring improvement are: investigating crime; protecting vulnerable people; managing offenders; developing a positive workplace, and good use of resources. The Met was also graded inadequate at responding to the public

"Without proper recording by police officers, how are survivors supposed to access justice and protection through the courts and secure their safety?"

 
WORK SPHERE
Firms in Four-Day Week Trial Will Make it Permanent

Seventy-three companies have been taking part in the four-day work week trial in the UK and at the halfway point, 41 firms replied to a survey with generally positive feedback. 95% of firms said productivity had stayed the same or improved and 86% said they would keep the four-day policy after the trial finishes. The director of Autonomy, one of the companies running the trial, has said that “A four-day week with no loss of pay could play a crucial role in supporting workers to make ends meet over the next few years."
 
While many have found it a positive change for employees and beneficial for business, there are some companies taking part in the trial who have found the change trickier.

The Number of Working People Facing Homelessness is Rising Sharply

New government figures show surging rates of homelessness. More than 278,000 households faced homelessness in 2021/22 and a quarter of those were actually in employment - a 16% rise from last year. This undoubtedly points to the impact of the cost of living crisis, particularly for those who are receiving a salary, yet still cannot cover the most essential of living costs. This is exacerbated by a steep rise in private landlords evicting tenants without legitimate cause, meaning people are forced from their homes often with no where else to go. Cost of living and homelessness is deeply intersected by racial inequality; it's been reported that ethnic minority households "are experiencing costs that are 50 per cent higher than white households as a portion of their income".

 

45 Major Companies Commit to Hiring Over 20,000 Refugees at Tent Business Summit
A number of major companies and big name brands are taking new measures to support the refugees in the US. By being provided with employment opportunities, refugees are more likely to successfully integrate into a society, economically and socially. Leading companies including Amazon, Hilton, Pepsi and Pfizer commit to offer training to thousands of refugees over the next three years. The scheme will help refugees seeking work overcome challenges such as language barriers, a lack of professional network, and employer bias. 

"These companies will benefit from welcoming these hard-working, loyal, and resilient individuals – but my hope is that this is only the beginning."

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