The University of Aberdeen is committed to promoting equality, creating a culture of inclusivity and celebrating the diversity of its staff and student communities. On this page you can find our reports which detail our progress in achieving our equality ambitions.

Download our full report:


Equality Mainstreaming and Outcomes Report 2019


I am delighted to present the University of Aberdeen’s Interim Equality Mainstreaming Report 2019.


Since publishing our review of our Equality Outcomes and progress on mainstreaming equality in 2017 we have continued to strive to promote inclusiveness and tolerance throughout all our activities.


The report which follows provides details of the progress we have made since our report in 2017 and also showcases the new initiatives and projects which we believe will continue to support and enhance our strategic priorities in relation to diversity and inclusion.


Some of the key highlights include:


  • proactive action in implementing new policies and practices but have also embedded existing work;
  • We have been delighted to be working closely with the Aberdeen University Student Association to implement enhanced support for staff and students who experience gender-based violence;
  • Our British Sign Language Action Plan presents an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of British Sign Language;
  • Our achievements with the Athena SWAN Charter over the last two years demonstrate significant commitment to and progress on gender equality; 
  • The University’s Inclusion Week in March 2019 provided a wonderful opportunity to encourage dialogue on inclusion and diversity and to celebrate the staff, students, local community and International Partners;
  • Our commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing of our staff and students has continued with the implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  We have trained over 250 staff and students in Scottish Mental Health First Aid and have welcomed external organisations to participate, positioning the University as a hub of activity in this area.

We continue to be open to suggestions and ideas on this important area so if you have ideas about diversity and inclusion, please do get in touch and together we can continue to build a university which puts inclusion at the heart of all it does and continues to meet its founding promise to be “open to all”.


Professor George Boyne

Principal and Vice Chancellor


This Interim Report sets out the progress the University has made in mainstreaming equality in relation to the general duty of the Equality Act 2010:


  • Eliminating Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation
  • Fostering good relations between people from different groups
  • Advancing Equality of Opportunity

A report is also provided detailing the progress made in relation to the University’s Equality Outcomes which were developed through extensive consultation with staff, students, partners and stakeholders prior to the publication of the 2017 report.


The University’s Equality Outcomes are:


Outcome 1

The principles of Equality and Diversity will be a day-to-day consideration within all of the University’s activities, both strategically and operationally;


Outcome 2

Staff will have greater understanding of their responsibilities in Equality and Diversity and apply this in their practice to positively advance equality;


Outcome 3

The University will be an inclusive community where staff and students are able to fulfil their full potential in their work or studies;


Outcome 4

The diversity of the University community will be celebrated and recognised so that all staff and students feel respected and valued;


A report on the diversity profile of the University Court is also provided, along with a summary of the actions taken to increase the diversity profile of the Court members where this is possible.


The report focuses on the progress made in the two years since the publication of the last report which can be found here, along with the previous reports.


Strategic Direction


The principles of Equality and Diversity are embedded within the University’s current Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020.  The University’s mission within the Strategic Plan includes the commitment to embed “a culture of equality and diversity in which all staff and students thrive”.  The values included in the

Strategic Plan commit the University to:


  • Sustainable partnerships with stakeholders - driving a culture of inclusion and accessibility
  • Respect for all within and beyond the University
  • An empowered and ambitious community in which all can thrive

It should be noted that the University welcomed a new Principal in August 2019 and his commitment to equality and diversity issues has been evidenced by his personal involvement in equality matters.  Additionally, the profile of the University’s 1495 foundational purpose to be ‘open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others’ has been raised and will steer the development of a new institutional strategy.  The development process of the strategy will be fully participative, and a significant consultation exercise is planned.  Inclusion will be one of the key planks of the strategy.


The University has also agreed a specific vision for Equality and Diversity:


To strive to create an inclusive culture which celebrates the diversity of the University’s staff and students. In recognising that this diversity brings new and engaging perspectives and enriches the experience of all who work, study and visit the University we will take a proactive approach to embedding and mainstreaming the principles of Equality and Diversity by:


  • Driving the agenda at the highest strategic level and throughout the University;
  • Communicating the Equality and Diversity Vision and the University’s expectations widely to all staff and students;
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination;
  • Sharing experiences and good practice;
  • Educating staff and students on Equality and Diversity and their responsibilities;
  • Engaging staff and students on Equality and Diversity matters.

Equality and Diversity matters remain part of the People Strategy for the University “to foster a positive culture wherein our people are engaged, committed to our future, and champions of equality and diversity”.  However, the portfolio will be championed directly by the incoming Senior Vice Principal, who will have a remit to chair the Advisory Group on Equality and Diversity.


Structure of Report and Publication


The structure of this report has been set out to show clearly how the University is meeting the general duty within the Equality Act 2010.  This report focusses on the progress and impact since 2017 in relation to:


  • eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • advancing equality of opportunity, considering the need to: remove or minimise disadvantage, meet the needs of people with protected characteristics, and encourage participation where it is low and;
  • fostering good relations between people from different groups;
  • diversity within the composition of boards.

The report also outlines the progress that the University has made towards meeting our Equality Outcomes since our review in 2017.  Information which was provided in our reports of 2013, 2015 and 2017 will not be repeated in this report unless required. The actions set out in the 2017 report will be addressed and new actions for the period 2017 – 2019 set as appropriate.


An action plan can be found at Appendix 2.  The actions from the last report are listed in that action plan with a progress report.  New actions identified in this report have been added to that action plan and are specifically linked to the items in this report. The action plan is ambitious, but achievable and continues our work to meet the Equality Outcomes. Where actions are embedded in other action plans e.g. Gender Action Plan or Athena SWAN, they will not be repeated in this report or in the action plan.  The employee information/data can be found in Appendix 3.  It should be noted that since 2017 the University has undertaken a review and re-organisation of its academic structures.  Schools are not now organised into Colleges – Heads of School are directly accountable for equality matters.  This more direct involvement has been reflected in our equality governance structures so that representative Heads of School are part of the Advisory Group on Equality and Diversity.


This report is fully available to staff, students, visitors and other interested groups or individuals.  It will be published on the University’s Equality and Diversity webpage and will be publicised to staff and students through the University’s communication channels e.g. Staff E-zine, Message of the Day, open sessions, newsletters.


Example of Mainstreaming Equality

The University of Aberdeen has developed a report outlining how it meets the legal requirement to mainstream equality into all of its functions.

More information on the Examples of Mainstreaming Equality

Progress on Equality Outcomes

The University has agreed 4 Equality Outcomes, developed through a process of consultation and communication. The Outcomes will shape our equality activities over the next 2 years.  

Read more about our progress in meeting our outcomes.

Equality Outcomes Action Plan

The University has developed an action plan to continue to drive forward our work on delivering on our Equality Outcomes. Read more about the Action Plan.

Equality Data

The University collects and analyses equality profile data on staff and students which we use to inform policy and decision-making.  Find out more about our current statistics.

Gender Pay Gap

More information about our Gender Pay Gap report can be found here.


The University is pleased to have the opportunity to showcase the work undertaken and planned on diversity and inclusion.    This area of work continues to be a strategic priority and links directly to the University’s overall founding mission to be “open to all”.


There has been a real focus on tackling issues evidenced by the data such as implementing the Gender Action Plan and Athena SWAN activity.  We have also strengthened our equality networks to provide as many options as possible for staff to become involved in shaping and directing policy development.  We have implemented feedback processes so that we can learn what is most effective and engaging for staff.


Our Inclusion Week aimed to bring staff, students and the local community together to celebrate, discuss and improve diversity on campus.  We aimed to include all three of our campuses (Old Aberdeen, Foresterhill and Qatar) to engage our whole community.  Following extremely positive feedback we will continue to offer events and workshops for the community to engage with.


We have continued to implement our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and this will be an ongoing focus to ensure as far as possible that staff and students:


  • Know where to get support
  • Receive the support required in a timely and effective manner
  • Are able to maintain a work/life balance so that the University is an effective environment for work and study

The implementation of the Equally Safe in HE Toolkit is central to our commitment to working in partnership with the Aberdeen University Student Association to support staff or students who experience gender-based violence and to action initiatives which aim to prevent such incidents occurring on campus.


The legal imperatives and requirements drive diversity and inclusion work, however, there is a strong commitment at the University of Aberdeen to strive to move beyond legal compliance and to progress equality and inclusiveness across all of the protected characteristics through constructive dialogue and understanding intersectional barriers.


Previous Equality Mainstreaming and Outcome Reports


The University detailed how it would continue to strive to achieve excellent practice in equality and inclusion in April's Mainstreaming and Equality Outcomes report.


The Scheme demonstrates the University’s continued commitment to fully embedding Equality and Diversity principles across the whole University. An interim report on progress with the Scheme was published in April 2015.


The University was delighted to launch its Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Equality Scheme in April 2013.