When discussing diversity, choice of language is particularly important to avoid creating or contributing to negative perceptions and othering (ie treating a person as though they are different from, and do not belong to, a group). The terminology used in this report has emerged from consultation within the University of Oxford (including with the Race Equality Task Force) and with external expert reviewers. The following language is therefore used throughout this report:
- Women researchers
- Disabled researchers
- Racially minoritised researchers
- LGBTQIA+ researchers
Conflicting views were expressed around language used to describe racially minoritised researchers, including some expressing preference for “global majority”, or “researchers of colour, racialised as BME ”, as more affirming and less othering, while others preferred “racially minoritised” to acknowledge that minoritisation occurs through social processes of power and oppression. The phrase “racially minoritised” is used throughout this report in order to (a) include all researchers who are racially minoritised, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and (b) ensure clarity to those in positions of influence over change.
Many of the barriers observed throughout this study apply to several or all the groups above. Where this is the case, the term ‘marginalised researcher’ is used to include people with any, some or all of the above characteristics. This terminology is often used in EDI literature to reflect intersectionality and to acknowledge the processes that actively lead to exclusion and marginalisation.
The authors appreciate that this language remains imperfect as it groups a diverse range of people and risks obscuring differences in experience between individuals with different identities. The approach taken in this report aims to identify where external factors operate in similar ways to exclude individuals with different characteristics, even though the ways in which an individual experiences those factors may be different. Where evidence arose in the analysis of clear differences in the nature of the barriers or experiences these are set out by characteristic.
The words and phrases ‘equality’, ‘equity’, ‘equality of opportunity’, and ‘equality of treatment’ are used throughout this report. ‘Equality’ is often used broadly in EDI literature to refer to all people having equal access to opportunities to fulfil their potential. However, it is sometimes interpreted as meaning to treat everybody in the same way. This interpretation does not take into account differing access needs or the differential impact of systemic and personal biases, inequalities arising from systemic and societal structures, and imbalances of power. The authors therefore use the term ‘equity’ to refer to an environment in which all people are treated fairly, accounting for their needs and positionality, to enable them to reach equal outcomes. This environment is considered to offer ‘equality of opportunity’.