To help us break the taboo about class, accent, and presentation, we will be joined by Dr Gisela Mann from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
As Gisela herself has written: “Colleagues from working class backgrounds and those with more privileged origins feel equally uncomfortable talking about this and this is an opportunity to have an honest conversation about the unconscious biases we hold around accent. So, I and many other working-class colleagues have made it into the Civil Service, but will we make it up? Well, according to the ‘Navigating the Labyrinth’ report, only if we adopt a ‘studied neutrality’ which includes using the right accent. Added to this is the ‘emotional detachment’ and ‘understated self-presentation’ which is very hard for people from not only different social classes, but also different nationalities to adopt. How likely is it for a working-class civil servant to make it to the senior ranks when so much unconscious bias and assumptions are made simply on the basis of our diction? The statistics seem to say: unlikely.”
This session will explore the role of accent bias in the workplace, using the Civil Service as a case study.
About Dr Gisela Mann:
Dr Gisela Mann is a Senior Policy Advisor from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion, and is regularly invited to present workshops and panels on the subjects of accent bias, and internalised ageism.