In an effort to create a more inclusive workforce, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has announced plans to hire more men.

This initiative is part of a broader strategy to ensure the museum’s staff better reflects the general public.

A recent diversity and inclusion report, covering January to March 2024, revealed that women currently make up nearly 75 percent of the museum’s staff, while men account for just 25 percent.

The V&A aims to adjust these figures so that men comprise 30 percent of the workforce, with women making up the remaining 70 percent.

The museum has set a deadline of April 2025 to achieve these representation targets. However, the gender gap has widened over the past year. In March 2023, men made up 26.5 percent of the staff, compared to 25.2 percent in March 2024.

Also, the V&A seeks to increase the representation of staff from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds to 20 percent. Currently, this demographic constitutes 17.2 percent of the workforce.

What are their ‘diversity targets’?

A section of the report titled “Diversity Targets” outlines these goals. The target for male representation is set between 26 percent and 30 percent, while staff from minority ethnic groups are targeted to constitute 16 percent to 20 percent.

A museum spokesperson emphasised the importance of these efforts, stating, “As part of our ongoing equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy, we are striving to ensure our workforce is reflective of the public we serve. We have made good progress in recent years on creating a diverse staff body but have more work to do on gender, ethnicity, and social class.”

Richard Reeves, president of the American Institute for Boys and Men, praised the V&A’s strategy, calling it a “positive sign” of progress toward genuine gender equality. He noted, “People are realising that if we are serious about gender equality, we have to be serious about it in both directions. Representation of gender equality and diversity in this case means being pro-men.”

Reeves, who is also the author of Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It, highlighted the importance of diversity in creative organisations. “If you’re a creative organisation, then diversity helps to improve your level of creativity. Representation matters in serving the community culturally, ensuring the views, interests, and identities of the community as a whole are represented.”

The V&A’s proactive stance is seen as a potential model for other institutions facing similar diversity challenges. Reeves expressed hope that the V&A’s actions will inspire other organisations to address gender imbalances publicly and effectively.

The Department of Culture, Media, and Sport has declined to comment due to the ongoing election campaign.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.