Why you should vote Victoria Showunmi for the vacant black women’s seat on the NEC
In an interview with UCUAgenda, former NEC member Victoria Showunmi outlines why she is contesting the vacant black women’s seat on the NEC and urges members to consider voting for her.
Victoria is a long standing union member with 25 years service in UCU and previously NATFE. She’s a single mother with three girls and has no hesitation in describing herself as a feminist. Living in London although from rural Somerset originally, and working at University College London and Menouth University, her work focuses on gender, identity and race.
She is clear on the three main issues facing the sector – Pensions, including the situation for women, and women over a certain age, who had previously worked part time and are thus hit with inferior pension prospects; the Gender Pay Gap – including the often neglected factors hitting women of colour, who are often found towards the bottom of the pay scale; and marketisation both in HE and FE, where academics are facing increasing class sizes with less and less resources, and less time to spend with individual students.
In relation to the issues facing black workers in the sector, amongst the problems she identifies are a definite lack of progression and lack of a CPD structure that reflects what black workers need. Secondly she argues that there needs to be more recognition that issues around racism are real – something not always grasped at a local level.
Victoria argues that an intersectional approach needs to be further developed within the Union – a journey which she believes first got major support under Joanna de Groot our immediate Past President, and which is being continued now. She believes that she was instrumental in pushing for this during her time on the NEC, and hopes to continue this if successfully elected to the black women’s seat.
When she’s not campaigning, teaching or researching, she admits a fondness for the music of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson – although her reading materials tend to be…. on academic areas. She’s currently reading around critical whiteness and would specifically recommend Unhinged – an insider’s account of the Trump White House by Omarosa Manigault Newman.
In the odd moment she can plant herself in front of the TV, her favourite boxset would be Law and Order (Special Victims Unit).
Why vote for her? She argues she has a good track record – she’s not pretentious, she’s passionate about what she does – she feels she’s approachable about anything to do with the union and she looks forward to pushing the union further on the issues above.
We recommend – vote for a candidate with a proven record – vote for Victoria.