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Unapologetically a BAME: an event celebrating BAME women organised by students

On the first day of women’s history month, two students from Oriel College’s postgraduate community (MCR), Patricia Mativo and Kayla Fraser, hosted an impressive panel of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women:

It was a powerful evening that brought together the professional and personal in an honest conversation between the panellists. In her welcoming remarks, Patricia talked about what formed the basis for the students wanting to celebrate the diversity of BAME women ahead of International Women’s Day, “The problem lies in that people believe ‘women’ is a homogenous group, which is not true. We all have our own unique challenges and stories”.

Patricia is the MCR’s Environmental Representative and a master’s student in Environmental Change and Management

Kayla struck the perfect balance of being an inquisitive moderator and creator of an open safe space. She is also the MCR Women’s Welfare Officer and a master’s student in African Studies.

Kayla began her moderation by asking panellists for a single word answer to the question, ‘What does it mean to be a BAME?’ and as the answers ranged from “adaptive,” “searching,” “collectivity,” it soon became apparent that the nuances and complexities surrounding being BAME were incapable of being described in a single simple word.

The evening continued with discussions around being a BAME woman and the importance of self-care. The evening also explored being BAME in spaces that have historically not been inclusive.

Dr Srivastav, one of the panellists, said, “Some people are assessed on their potential, whereas we are always being assessed on our performance”.

The event was supported by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund of four colleges (Oriel, Corpus Christi, Christ Church and University) and co-organised by Aissa Dearing (Oriel/Mansfield) and Khuluud Hussein (University). Fun quizzes with prizes alongside food and drinks and free sanitary products for attendees concluded the event.