Decolonising City- Developing Opportunities for Black Women


At City, only 2% of our academic staff are Black.

Decolonising City means discovering, denouncing and dismantling the barriers and systems that do not serve our institution and those within it. Since our submission and successful application to the Race Equality Charter in July last year, we have been working to put initiatives in place to directly benefit our staff of colour and in particular Black Women. This International Women’s Day we are proud to announce that we are offering a suite of leadership and development training exclusively to staff of colour at City including our new involvement in the 100 Black Women Professors NOW programme.

The 100 Black Female Professors now programme, created by the Women’s Higher Education Network (WHEN), is a ground-breaking initiative to increase the diversity of the academic staff by providing opportunities to accelerate progress for Black women. At City, only 2% of our academic staff are Black. This is a new and exciting opportunity and City has committed to 6 fully-funded places on the programme.

Miranda Leach, lecturer in Midwifery and Lolita Alfred, lecturer in Mental Health Nursing are two participants participants on the programme who had this to say,

“Being selected to be part of the 100 Black Women Professors Now is encouraging as it proves the university wants to tackle systemic barriers and also evidences commitment to support both women and those of marginal minority groups to develop in the workplace.” Miranda Leach

Miranda Leach, participant on the programme smiling in front of the 100 Black Women Professors Now Banner

“Having worked at City for a few years now, I have experienced the range of opportunities and support available for professional development. City being part of the 100 Black Female Professors Programme shows me that the organisation has a genuine and ongoing commitment to professional development, and that they are open to investing in, and embracing new and innovative approaches to support the development of women in higher education. ” Lolita Alfred

The scheme also consists of workshops on systemic change for institutional leaders as well as action learning sets, sponsors and mentors for participants. Both participants recently attended the scheme’s launch event in Leeds on the 20th January and had this to say,

“The launch event in Leeds was a great opportunity to network and meet with forward thinking professionals. This was inspiring and has given me the confidence and insight on how to develop myself to enable me make the necessary changes to progress my teaching career.” Miranda Leach

“The launch event was one of the most inspiring, thought provoking and motivational spaces I’ve been privileged to be part of. It really set the tone for what I can expect for the upcoming year, and I’m so excited to be taking part in the WHEN programme.” Lolita Alfred.

Helen Langley co-chair of our Staff Network for Racial Justice commented,

“In the Network for Racial Justice (NRJ) Demands of July 2020, the NRJ called for the introduction of leadership programmes for staff of colour. We are pleased to see this development finally enacted in 2023 which we believe will be of huge value to eligible colleagues. We wish to see this programme expand and in future receive the same promotion and internal publicity as other established programmes. The proactive focus on gender equality over a number of years has yielded visible positive results and the University must now give the same level of intention to address racial equity and make a tangible difference to the diversity of senior management and leadership at City.”

Launching these initiatives forms part of a larger plan to tackle inequality within our institution which relies on our structures to change as well as targeted support for the individual.  We are aware that no one intervention or training programme will solve the issues that lie within our sector but with a nuanced approach we can get one step closer.

Let us know below how you are making space to raise up and celebrate the amazing women in your network.




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