- Identify your implicit biases at Harvard's Project Implicit
- Practice inclusive language in the classroom, lab, and everyday life
- Work to support students of color in the classroom
- Discover how to support undocumented students
- Learn how to be an effective trans ally
- Diversify your speaker nominations by referencing the Diversify EEB database
importance of diversity & inclusivity
All people, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexuality, income, or ability should be able to pursue a career in science. However, in biology, women (1), people of color (1), and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community (2), and likely many other groups (that we lack data for) are underrepresented relative to their global populations. Beyond the negative impacts to members of these groups, this imbalance has repercussions for the field of biology. Human diversity and equality translate to innovativeness (3, 4). It is imperative to balance the diversity gap.
While explicit biases (i.e. discrimination) have waned, implicit (subconscious or unintended) biases continue to reduce recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in biology (5). From an early age, people in underrepresented groups are less encouraged to pursue science, or even actively discouraged, lowering recruitment (6). Lower retention can be attributed to implicit biases by peers or mentors. For example, women are ranked lower than equally capable men by both male and female faculty (5), are often subject to harsher peer review (7), and receive smaller awards than men (8). When internalized implicit biases are triggered (i.e. in environments with ‘stereotype threat’) the performance of women and people of color suffers (9, 10). Thus the cycle is self-perpetuating: underrepresentation contributes to the stereotype of a white, straight, able-bodied cis-male scientist. This stereotype fuels implicit biases that lower recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in biology, further perpetuating stereotype threat and implicit biases, which in turn limits recruitment and retention.
To summarize - low diversity of people (in many dimensions of identity) is a big injustice and problem. I highly prioritize working to diversify the field of ecology and evolution.
- A. Perkins, “Profile of Ecologists: Results of a Survey of the Membership of the Ecological Society of America” (2006).
- M. Waldorp, Pride in Science. Nature. 513, 297–300 (2014).
- S. E. Page, J. Vandermeer, Inequality and Innovativeness (2013).
- M. Nathan, N. Lee, Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm-level Evidence from London Max. Econ. Geogr. 89, 367–394 (2013).
- C. a. Moss-Racusin, J. F. Dovidio, V. L. Brescoll, M. J. Graham, J. Handelsman, Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109, 16474–16479 (2012).
- Sandra L. Hanson, Swimming Against the Tide: African American Girls and Science Education (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2009;
- A. E. Budden et al., Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors. Trends Ecol. Evol. 23, 4–6 (2008).
- G. Bedi, N. T. Van Dam, M. Munafo, Gender inequality in awarded research grants. Lancet. 380, 474 (2012).
- D. M. Marx, J. S. Roman, Female role models: Protecting women’s math test performance. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 28, 1183–1193 (2002).
- C. M. Steele, J. Aronson, Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 69, 797–811 (1995).
DIVERSE, RELATABLE ROLE MODELS FOR INTRO BIO
As part of my post doc, I will be continuing to develop an online repository of teaching materials for introductory biology classes that contains teaching materials and personal accounts submitted by biologists that are self-identified members of underrepresented groups in biology. The goal is to allow instructors of intro bio to efficiently integrate research examples done by these folks, and also to present biologists in a way that is humanizing and relatable. Check out the prototype website for Project Biodiversify