June 2, 2020

Dr Louise Ashley: “Merit is an ideological term”

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About this episode

Dr Louise Ashley is a senior lecturer in organisation studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. She specialises in researching the diversity and inclusion practises of large professional services firms. After a surprise admittance to Cambridge, Louise began to see how varying degrees of privilege can affect a person’s life. But it wasn’t until she joined a large law firm that she truly saw the impact of inequality – an experience that led to her current line of work. Louise says each equality strand faces its own challenges – whether it’s gender, race, or social class – but it’s when those strands intersect that the challenges faced by certain people grow deeper. Interestingly, in this conversation Louise explains why she believes the term ‘social mobility’ to be controversial and problematic, and how that’s linked to her belief that merit is an “ideological term”. This conversation delves into the subjects of unconscious bias, the depoliticization of the equality agenda, and the business case for diversity. Find out how Louise believes we can better tackle the issues faced by our society, to improve the outcomes and lives of everybody.

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