Cynthia Akwei

UCU NEC elections: 
Vote  Cynthia Akwei for Black Members

To address racism, ethnicity pay gap, lack of promotion and progression into senior roles

I am a Reader, Faculty of Business and Law, Liverpool John Moores University and I seek your vote as a representative of black members.

 I have a profound understanding of the challenges black members encounter. As a black woman, I have knowledge and experience of racial trauma in HE. Although there have been several racism discussions, it is ingrained in HE with the award gap still at 20% in over 20 years, ethnicity pay gap at 29-34%, 0.70% black professors with only 41 black women out of the 22855 professors in HE. Covid19, workload issues and casualisation, lack of progression and inflation at 11.1% have negatively impacted black members, ethnicity pay and cost of living.

 UCU Roles

  • Vice Chair -UCU Black Members Standing Committee: 2021 to date
  • Vice Chair -Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion UCU Branch: 2019-to date
  • Member – UCU-Black Members Standing Committee: 2019 to date
  • Faculty Rep- UCU Branch 2017 to date
  • Health and Safety Rep -UCU Branch: 2020 to date
  • UCU Left

In my UCU roles, I worked in a team to achieve Bronze Athena Swan and the Race Charter. I organised and presented seminars on black staff challenges: e.g. at the national Race Action week 2022. I presented the key challenges of Black progression, gender and ethnicity pay gap using data from ONS, and HESA 2021/22 to develop actions.
At national and international conferences and workshops, I have presented work on inclusive provision, creating inclusive institutions, and managing difficult conversations about race and language.

I have written motions on Ethnicity pay gap, workload, and impact of Covid19 on black workers which have been passed. I have supported several black member initiatives.
My current research shows the systemic racism in HE and the lack of the appropriate leadership and culture to dismantle this. I have assisted with the organisation and delivery of workshops on decolonisation and the creation of resources.

 Stand up for our rights

 This is the time for us to stand up for our rights and call the UCU to action, move debates into action and get our institutions to dismantle racism and microaggressions. This calls for a contemporary, dynamic strategic approach to dismantle racism. As a knowledgeable, passionate, and actively engaged strategist promoting race issues through strategy and policy development, implementation, activism, speaker roles, events, and research, I will fight and speak against racism in all forms and push for changes. 

I am confident that my knowledge, understanding, skills, qualification, and wealth of experience in post-16 education and black issues make me the ideal candidate for this role. Please vote for me and together we will chart a dynamic strategic course to dismantle racism. Solidarity.