As in many parts of society, diversity is not as high as it should be in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), or specifically in evolutionary biology – the field that I am active in. This is unfortunately true in terms of gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity. As openly gay evolutionary biologist, I think all of the above grounds for misrepresentation must be actively addressed. So what to do about it? A common explanation to why there are so few [select ground for discrimination/under-representation] is that employers or organizers knew so few of them… Well, there are a couple of excellent initiatives that deal with this issue very hands-on by providing lists:
- Diversify EEB highlights women and other minorities among ecologists and evolutionary biologists
- LGBT STEM deals with… issues for LGBT scientists in STEM. Here you can also take part of the testimonies from LGBT STEM researchers about how being LGBT has affected their professional lives. Update 23 November 2016: Now also featuring an interview with yours truly!
Pride in STEM aims to showcase and support all LGBT+ people in STEM fields, and have taken the initiative for the first international LGBTSTEM Day in 2018. It will be celebrated on July 5, since it can be written as ‘507’ which is (in nanometres) the wavelength of the colour green featured in the rainbow flag and is representative of nature – or as ‘705’ which is the wavelength of the color red, representing life. Stay tuned!
A cool project is Queer in STEM, in which a group of STEM researchers studies what it means to be LGBTQ in STEM. They have previously performed a large-scale survey that makes up the basis for scientific papers and talks, and recently undertook the second and extended edition of that (survey unfortunately closed).
Finally, my brilliant friend Maren Wellenreuther guest-edited a special issue of Evolutionary Applications together with Sarah Otto, which highlights the contributions of outstanding female researchers in evolutionary biology.
Now go make your work place or your upcoming conference a little bit more diverse (and I will try to do the same)!