Public Sector Equality Duty

Public Sector Equality Duty

The University of Aberdeen commits to taking bold, ambitious and effective action to support its work on equality, diversity and inclusion and to create a safe, respectful culture in which its community can work and study.  This includes proactively challenging inappropriate behaviour and systemic inequalities. 

The Equality Act 2010 requires the University through the Public Sector Equality Duty to give due regard to the need to:. 

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  2. Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  3. Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Act covers staff and students (including prospective staff and students) and protects them in relation to nine protected characteristics:

  1. Age                                                                   
  2. Disability
  3. Gender re-assignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

On this page you will find reports dating back to 2013 which detail the steps the University has taken to address the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Equality Mainstreaming and Outcomes Report 2023


I am delighted to introduce the University of Aberdeen’s Mainstreaming and Equality Outcomes Interim Report 2023.

This report draws together the progress made in mainstreaming Equality, Diversity and Inclusion since our report published in 2021. The previous two years have seen a significant level of activity in breadth and scope across the University on embedding the principles of inclusion.

Through our strategic plan, Aberdeen 2040, the University is committed to creating an inclusive working and learning environment and celebrating the diversity of our staff and students, recognising that this supports our success as a University. We continue to embed EDI across the University through the work of our strategic body for EDI, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the establishment of School EDI Leads, Race Equality Champions and Mental Health First Aiders.

Taking this inclusive approach to operational activities has continued to serve us well in our response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which held staff and student wellbeing at its core throughout.  

The creation of an antiracist University continued to be a priority over the reporting period as we drive forward transformative change in this area. I am delighted that our Antiracism Strategy was launched in 2022, setting out a bold and progressive framework for our strategic priorities on race equality. Listening will be a continuous thread through this work, and we are committed to enhancing and opening communication channels across the University for conversations on race. Our staff and student surveys on race and racism indicated that inequalities exist in our institution – this is deeply troubling to the University and dedicated action is being progressed to address the issues raised by our staff and students.

We have taken action to advance equal pay for staff who identify with protected characteristics, worked towards creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT+ students and staff achieving a Silver Award in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, and enhanced mental health and wellbeing support. Our commitment to intersectional approaches seeks to bring the lived experience of staff and students to the heart of our work.  It is critical that the impact of our EDI activities is positive for our diverse community.

This area of work is evolving, challenging and a priority for the University. I am looking forward to continuing and expanding our work on inclusion in line with our Aberdeen 2040 commitments and to listening and learning from our University community and beyond to deliver our goal of achieving a culture that celebrates, recognises and supports our diverse community.

Professor George Boyne
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
University of Aberdeen


The University of Aberdeen celebrates and values the diversity of its community and recognises how the range of perspectives this brings enriches University life and contributes to its success. In line with our strategic plan, Aberdeen 2040, the University is committed to ensuring that it is an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, acknowledging that each individual may identify with multiple characteristics which contribute to lived experience. The University recognises the critical role the University community has played in continuing to promote a proactive and collaborative approach to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion across its functions.

This report outlines how the University has embedded Inclusivity in its strategic planning and demonstrates how an enhanced EDI governance structure is ensuring that the priorities as set out in our strategic plan are being delivered. The report details the progress the University has made in mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion since 2021. Key examples of how this has been achieved and ongoing actions are detailed under the three core objectives of the general duty of the Equality Act 2010 which are to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010
  • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The report provides progress on the University’s Equality Outcomes 2021 – 2025. The Equality Outcomes are:

  • Achieve the highest recognition in equality and diversity through achievement of awards in accreditation initiatives including Athena Swan, Race Equality Charter and Stonewall Workplace Equality Index
  • Tackle mental health stigma to improve outcomes and experiences for staff and students who have mental ill health 
  • Eliminate barriers which may present due to multiple intersectional protected characteristic identities 
  • Create an antiracist university by tackling racial harassment and fully embedding the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged (2019) and the Universities UK report Tackling Racial Harassment in HE (2020)
  • Create a culture where gender-based violence is eradicated within the University community and staff or students who do experience this can seek effective support
  • Eliminate barriers to learning, progression, promotion and physical accessibility for disabled staff and students by taking actions to continuously improve the working and learning environments for disabled staff and students 
  • Reduce the level of discrimination reported in the staff survey from 11% to 5% in 2022

Following the development of the Tackling persistent inequalities together report, National Equality Outcomes (NEOs) were launched by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The University welcomes these and the focus on transformative change for staff and students across the sector. The NEOs broadly align with the University’s current Equality Outcomes and the University will undertake a consolidation exercise to determine its approach to addressing the NEOs.

This report is an opportunity for the University to showcase its practice in relation to mainstreaming equality throughout its functions. Please note that it will not repeat information which has already been shared through previous Mainstreaming and Equality Outcomes reports which can be found and the actions identified in the 2021 report continue to be progressed/completed.  The report is 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.

Examples of Mainstreaming Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

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 can be found in the following documents:

Court Diversity and Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018

More information about our Court Diversity and compliance with the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 can be found here.

Gender Pay Gap

The University of Aberdeen has been regularly publishing its Gender Pay Gap to ensure commitment to eradicating any pay gaps and to help inform our policies and practices.

Equal Pay Report

As part of the Public Sector Equality Duty, the University has a duty to publish its gender pay gap information (every 2 years) and an Equal Pay statement (every four years). This is University’s fifth report and it is based on data obtained from the HR/Payroll System as at 31 August 2019.

Equality Outcomes Progress Report

The University has agreed 7 Equality Outcomes, developed through a process of consultation and communication. An action plan has been developed to drive forward our work on delivering on our Equality Outcomes. Read more about our Action Plan and Progress.

Staff and student information

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.

Previous Equality Mainstreaming and Outcome Reports

2013 - 2021


The University’s report on the progress made in mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion between 2019 and 2021 as well as a report on the University’s Equality Outcomes can be found here: Mainstreaming and Equality Outcomes Report 2021. Download the full 2021 report


The University’s interim report on the progress made in mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion between 2017 and 2019 as well as a report on the University’s Equality Outcomes can be found here: Mainstreaming Report 2019


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.