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The Struggle of a Black Female Consultant in The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth)

Unveiling Systemic Inequities



The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) is under scrutiny following allegations of harassment, systemic inequity and race discrimination by Miss Evelyn Mensah, a Black female consultant ophthalmologist. Miss Mensah, a trailblazer who made history as the first Black woman to serve as the RCOphth Chair for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), has courageously shared her troubling experiences within the organisation, shedding light on significant issues of accountability and transparency.


In November 2023, the RCOphth CEO confronted Miss Mensah about vague concerns regarding her social media activity. Despite repeated requests for specifics, she received none, leaving her unable to respond adequately. This lack of transparency raises questions about the true motivations behind these allegations, mainly when a document obtained in December contained mere personal opinions of Miss Mensah rather than formal accusations.


The situation escalated in January 2024 when Miss Mensah received an email from the RCOphth CEO and President, which she perceived as racial harassment. The email, laden with unsupported allegations and implied legal threats, seemed designed to intimidate and tarnish her professional reputation. Such actions highlight the hostile environment she faced as a Black female consultant within the RCOphth Council. Ironically, as the EDI Chair, the very person tasked with promoting inclusivity was subjected to what felt like targeted profiling. On 27th February 2024, Miss Mensah was unceremoniously dismissed from her role as EDI Chair.


The 2022 RCOphth Differential Attainment Report contextualises Miss Mensah's experience, revealing a stark underrepresentation of Black doctors in ophthalmology. The report highlights that Black ophthalmologists are significantly underrepresented among trainees and consultants and are absent from Council membership. Despite comprising a significant portion of the UK's population and medical professionals, Black individuals face systemic barriers within ophthalmology, hindering their progression and success.


Miss Mensah's case exemplifies these systemic barriers. The lack of Black representation on the RCOphth Council and the consistent differential attainment reported are not isolated issues but reflect a broader pattern of inequity. These disparities hinder Black ophthalmologists' professional advancement and success, raising critical concerns about the College's commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. The data underscores a troubling trend: a profession that prides itself on clinical excellence yet falls short in fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for all its members.


In conclusion, Miss Evelyn Mensah's struggle within the RCOphth is a personal plight and a reflection of the more significant systemic issues Black professionals face. It calls for an urgent need for transparency, accountability and genuine inclusion and belonging within the medical field. This experience has also sparked the launch of a newly formed organisation, Equality 4 Black Doctors, which diligently represents Miss Evelyn Mensah and advocates for systemic change. Only through such efforts can accurate equity be achieved, honouring the contributions and potential of all its members.


For a more detailed account, please watch the short video attached to this blog post.



This infographic represents a common experience for Black and Global Majority women in the organisation.

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Guest
May 27

I can resonate with this experience. It's gut wrenching. We too are humans with a wealth of experience and would enrich any team so called EDI team. EDI is areal joke for employees of colour

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Guest
May 22

As a black female, I have made almost the same experience when I use to work in early year industry.

They saw me as a problem instead of a solution.

Staff making ridiculous complaint that I am not proactive.

Time and time again I tried to engage with staff but they just excluded me.

At the end I handed my notice in because it's not worth it due to my mental health.

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Guest
May 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

People may judge, disbelieve and insult you but I don't. Cause I know exactly what it means to be racially discriminated upon. Until it happens to you, you'll really not know what it feels like. So thanks Evie for standing up not only for yourself but for people like us and generations yet unborn. The only reason why you were treated like that is because you're "BLACK" May justice,that you truly deserve, prevail! 💪🏾🙏🏿🤞🏾😎

Cheerios!

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Guest
May 21

Evie this is an absolute joke. You were appointed as EDI chair, then sacked only 9 months in post. Why has they produced a letter now. EDI where are your black leaders to represent people who look like me in the ivory towers.

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Guest
May 21

Wow! The fact that she is the FIRST Black EDI postorder proves how archaic and disingenuous the EDI panel is. Why did it take them so long to recruit one if they're serious about addressing racism. The demographics of that panel is shameful.

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