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Dr Victoria Showunmi (UCL)

28 July 2020

Election address

Currently an NEC Representative of black members and previously of women members, my experience on the NEC, HEC, women members' and black members' standing committee has prepared me to be VP with experience in these areas and committed to making UCU inclusive. I work closely with FE colleagues and so am very well aware of the needs of our members across the whole post-16 sector including in Adult and Community Education, facing cuts and low pay, and Prison Educators, where Health and Safety is crucial.

My experience enables me to represent members, including the most vulnerable and marginalized, and contributes towards making our union genuinely strive towards equality. I welcome the setting up of our migrants standing committee

Last year I represented UCU at the TUC, speaking in the gender pay debate - examining the issue of intersectionality as it affects workers in every area of the economy

As a Lecturer in Education at the IOE/University College London(and committee member in the largest UCU branch in the UK), my research and teaching on gender, race and leadership, and on young black women's experience of education, underpins my knowledge and understanding of gender pay inequity and the double detriment faced by women of colour, who all too often take disproportionately lower paid, lower status roles in our sector and across the economy.

I support our current industrial action challenging the gender pay gap and detriment faced by BAME staff and our fight to save the USS pension scheme, and prevent future attacks on the Teachers Pension scheme in post-92 universities and FE.

With sharpening concern over sexual harassment and violence, it is vital UCU continues to lead in this area, working together to implement our policies, strengthen procedures, and affirm the vital interlinkages between different kinds of discrimination and unequal power whether gender, race, sexuality, disability, or insecure casual employment and the exploitation of PG teachers and early career staff.

Beyond this, my priorities are:-

  • building understanding of and commitment to UCU policies among all UCU members, not just activists;
  • focus on shared aims and concerns (education - a public good, decent pay and conditions, equality and inclusiveness) not narrow sectional agendas. This needs to be in HE, FE, ACE and Prison Education.
  • the need to support diversity at every level of the union

We face tough times, whether through marketisation of education, gender and race inequity, attacks on our pensions, or rising levels of stress, management pressure, and workloads. We need careful planning and strong determination to ensure that all our members can join in making effective challenges to these problems. Please help me continue contributing to that work.

Contact me at: or follow on twitter: @ShowunmiV.

Last updated: 28 July 2020