Race, diversity and equality remain top of the RCM’s agenda

on 22 June 2021 Pregnancy Midwifery Midwives RCM RCM Member RCM CEO Maternity Services Race matters BAME Equality and Diversity Safe high quality care Maternity Safety

The Royal College of Midwives has restated its commitment to race equality and equity on the first anniversary of the launch of its Race Matters initiative.

Race Matters is centred around five key pledges:

  • Training for all RCM staff and activists to support and empower them in recognising and challenging racism.
  • Listen and learn from all members to reflect their experiences accurately and actively use what we’ve learnt to influence and promote positive change in the workplace.
  • Using our position, both as an organisation and through our reps, to challenge discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.
  • Ensuring that the RCM at every level is representative of the membership we serve.
  • Supporting research and championing positive change in outcomes for pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic background.


Commenting, RCM’s Chief Executive Gill Walton said: “Rarely has the issue of race been so much at the forefront than over the past year. COVID-19 has thrown a spotlight on the health inequalities experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, but it has also demonstrated the how little consideration has been given to non-white NHS staff around the fitting of masks or carrying out appropriate risk assessments for the deployment of staff to high-risk clinical areas.

“As the largest representative of maternity staff in the UK, we have a responsibility to challenge these inequalities, but also to challenge ourselves. Over the past year, the RCM has provided training in unconscious bias for staff and activists facilitated cultural competency training for members; and engaged with leading groups within the NHS, to effect change.”

To mark today’s anniversary, the RCM is publishing a new podcast and webinar, both devoted to Race Matters. The podcast includes interviews with midwives from various ethnic backgrounds who bravely share the challenges they have encountered during their midwifery careers and how they have positively tackled racist behaviour. Kathy Murphy Director of Midwifery at St Mary’s in Manchester also joins the podcast with midwives from her team to discuss a new book they have created that shares personal stories from midwives from a diverse background aimed at increasing diversity in the midwifery workforce. This special episode also includes an interview with the women behind the campaign FIVEXMORE who are actively lobbying and campaigning to improve maternal and pregnancy outcomes for Black women.

In the Race Matters one year on webinar the panel reflect upon the past year and discuss promoting safe spaces for conversations about race, identity and culture. Also, two RCM Activists who have attended the training facilitated by the RCM, highlight the importance of the courses and how they have changed their thinking and given them the confidence to challenge poor behaviours and racism in the workplace.

Gill added:

“While we formally launched Race Matters in 2020 work has been ongoing behind the scenes at the RCM for a number of years and we have been working closely with the equalities charity BRAP to ensure we are part of a wider solution to stamp out racism for good, but there is still much work to do. The RCM has recruited a Race Matters project worker and we are focusing our efforts in supporting members in London and other areas where there is high diversity in the workplace. We are also involved with Turning the Tide and are working closely with the new National Maternity Lead for Equality at NHS England, Wendy Olayiwola so there is lots of work ongoing and Race Matters has become the golden thread in all we do.

“We truly believe to deliver an inclusive maternity service for all women racism in our NHS must be stamped out and replaced with respect, dignity and compassion.”



To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]


 Notes to Editors: