Birmingham Business School buildings
Birmingham Business School

Birmingham Business School has been highlighted by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB) for its active commitment to achieving greater gender equality in allocating workloads.

The School’s project developed as a result of its ongoing involvement in two initiatives. Firstly, the British Athena SWAN quality charter, which celebrates good practice in the advancement of gender equality in higher education and research institutes.

Secondly, joining a Community of Practice, set up as part of the Horizon 2020 ACT research project, designed to encourage institutional change in gender equality through their Knowledge Sharing Hub.

The project, entitled Gender Budgeting Faculty Workloads for Equality, provides an experiential, research-based guide to achieving greater gender equality in the allocation of teaching and institutional service workloads, a key determinant of quantity and quality of work for academic staff. Equity in this area has the potential to benefit all.

There is a large amount of quantitative evidence showing that the experiences of women and men can be significantly different when it comes to workload allocation processes and outcomes. Our work in this area is especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought gender inequalities (among others) in academia to the forefront. Being highlighted by the AASCB is a great achievement for Birmingham Business School in the responsible business space and we hope that sharing best practice can encourage change across higher education.”

Professor Catherine Cassell, Dean of Birmingham Business School

Drawing on extensive research, the School surveyed staff to encourage critical reflection on the principles and outcomes of workload allocation tools and processes. The School now looks regularly at how outcomes can best support gender equality; the research has resulted in the development of a feminist approach to workload modelling that has great promise.

The School’s initiative builds on the recent movement to promote gender budgeting as a strategy to increase the visibility of gendered inequalities. Gender budgeting acknowledges that the outcomes of financial and other quantified calculations are not gender neutral and objective. This research, and the practical processes it describes, also has implications for different forms of inequality at work.

AACSB's Innovations That Inspire member spotlight program shines a spotlight on the variety of ways that business education is leading and innovating to create positive societal impact. The initiative highlighted the history business schools have as drivers of change.