‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.’
Tackling racism is a challenge of many layers and complexities – conscious, unconscious, implicit bias.... and one that the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recognises that we haven’t always got right but we are making strides to be a positive force for our black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) midwives and maternity support workers and the women they care for,as we actively seek to eliminate racial slights, microaggression and make ‘the’ RCM ‘Our’ RCM; an inclusive membership organisation for all midwives and maternity support workers.
Whilst we make steps to dismantle systematic racism within the midwifery profession we must also attempt to find answers to the often raised but as yet unresolved question of why black women in the UK are five times more likely to die during childbirth in comparison to white women.
There is a lot of work to be done, to improve the experience for our BAME members and the women they care for. The foundations for this work began internally two years ago as we sought to challenge the way we handle all aspects of equality and we have already begun working with leading equalities charity brap.
We have formulated the following five-point plan as a first step to ensuring inclusivity and diversity:
- 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 backgrounds
This commitment to our BAME members is phase one of an ongoing coordinated plan of continuous action to work collaboratively to make a difference.