In our action plan, published in July 2020, we outlined how we would implement these recommendations. This was our first step to improve EDI across all areas of our work.
One year on, we shared an update on the work done to date to increase representation in our volunteer roles.
One year on: an update on our progress to open up volunteer roles at RCPCH
In July 2021, a year after the publication of our action plan, we reported back on what we have achieved and what still needs to be done.
Where we started
The report we commissioned in 2019 on increasing member representation in our voluntary roles helped set the context for our work. A panel, co-chaired by Dr Bhanu Williams and Ben Summerskill, completed Putting Ladders Down in January 2020, and its recommendations were subsequently approved by both Council and Board of Trustees.
A review of our UK and Ireland member data highlighted that our data collection was not able to fully assess representation within membership. At the time of this work we held ethnicity data for 62.2% and a disability disclosure rate of 0.8%. Within members who volunteer, we had ethnicity data for 85.6% and gender data for 99.4%.
Comparing our volunteer roles to our wider membership highlighted that although our membership is 64.2% female, 51.3% of our volunteers were female. Ethnicity data amongst volunteers was generally similar to the wider membership, but there was some trend towards under representation, particularly in Black/Black British where the gap was higher than other ethnicities (5.0% vs 2.8%).
I am a member from a demographic that I rarely see in paediatrics, let alone in senior roles. I have previously felt that no-one gets my experience. However, being able to share how things are and shedding light on some of the challenges others like me may experience was liberating.
Working for change
The focus on members' voluntary roles was only our first phase of our equality, inclusion and diversity work.
In August 2020, we started to address wider issues across paediatrics, and in March 2021 we published our Working for change reports In spring 2022, we report against the actions we committed to implement across four different areas of work: working lives of paediatricans, health outcomes of children and young people, volunteers and awards and our College. We continue to take forward the actions set out in these reports.
Find out more about our work in this area, including our approach and members' blogs on our EDI web pages.
To tackle issues relating to EDI we must hear from diverse voices and experiences – including those of our members, volunteers and crucially the children/young people we care for. Only through doing this can we begin to understand the extent of inequalities in the working lives of paediatricians, in volunteer representation and wider society.