Equal Bite is a ‘recipe book’ which aims to share practical and effective strategies for creating more gender balanced working environments in higher education. The recipes will be written by University of Edinburgh staff and students, drawing from their real life experiences.
The methodology for the project is based on the successful book ‘BITE: Recipes for Remarkable Research’ edited by Judy Robertson, Alison Williams and Derek Jones. Gender equality, like remarkable research, is not straightforward to achieve. There isn’t a quick or easy fix. Legislation around gender equality has had an impact and many organisations have excellent internal policies. However, the implementation of policies and initiatives can vary and are influenced by the culture and environment of the workplace.
The recipe format developed in the BITE project gives people space to reflect, sometimes humorously, sometimes critically, on how things actually are. Recipes are quick to write and provide people with an opportunity to share practical advice. The recipe metaphor also implies adaptability: ‘here is what worked with these ingredients in this place, but change and tweak to taste’. In large complex organisations like universities, the culture and environment can vary considerably across different departments: being able to adapt effective strategies is likely to enhance their impact.
The book to be produced is not a glossy politically correct version of Edinburgh’s successes in gender equality. Instead it is intended to be a frank exploration of the messy reality. We expect the recipes to highlight some excellent practice but also to show the complexity of enhancing gender equality and to uncover the frustrations people face. The overall tone will be positive and constructive with, we anticipate, real insights to share within the University but also across the higher education sector and beyond.
We aim to publish the book in early 2017.
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