Equality and diversity issues in the workplace have been hotly debated for many years… and yet, there seems to be no shortage of possible solutions to the many difficulties that individuals face, whether in terms of access to work, to carrying out tasks as part of their roles and to reconciling these with family duties or personal circumstances. Whether this is to do with gender, social milieu, disability or other health conditions, a common conundrum remains: how can we live healthy and productive lives where we can cultivate our professional aspirations and at the same time maintain a happy, serene and accomplished personal life?
As a woman, these questions have always been close to my heart: it is not just about the “glass ceiling”, but generally and more deeply about living a full life as a professional, a spouse and a daughter. Having lectured now for more than 11 years, I have discussed these same issues with students umpteen times… and it just so happens that one of my best, brightest students ever is now deeply involved in helping individuals grapple with these questions so that they can truly live this “full life” in their own workplace.
I have known Ben Lyon for many years: he was one of my undergraduate and later masters’ students at the University of Liverpool where he graduated with an LLB and an LLM. We have since kept in touch and I can say with full confidence that he has made me truly proud: he is not just a very accomplished professional. He is also a person with a deep social conscience, who is very passionate about gender equality and who has translated his commitment and his passion in his current role.
Ben is a real role model in my opinion, a person who has harmoniously reconciled his life as professional in a large and complex organisation such as Transport for London with his civil commitment to these important principles. I am extremely pleased that he has accepted our invitation to speak in Edinburgh on Wednesday 22nd February as part of the University’s Festival of Creative Learning. His example will no doubt ignite discussion and hopefully offer a model for other students to follow.
Arianna Andreangeli, Senior Lecturer in Competition Law, Edinburgh Law School.
If you like the sound of this event you might also be interested in: Making History: a Feminist Craft Project, Wikipedia Editathon: Gender, Global Health and Justice, Dash Kapital: Neoliberalism, Gender and Victimhood in Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Rediscover Edinburgh – orienteering for health