Declaration action point: Amplify the voices of underrepresented colleagues

Posted on 21/12/2021 in Best Practices


Amplify the voices of underrepresented colleagues in both formal and informal settings

We are all biased. What can we do? The ALBA Declaration on Equity & Inclusion advises to promote allyship & advocacy, by amplifying the voices of underrepresented colleagues in both formal and informal settings. This article provides useful tips & resources on best practices about promoting your colleagues from underrepresented groups.


Venues such as conferences, forums, and even meetings where scholarly research is presented typically harbor systemic gender and minority biases and need to be countered. Typical excuses for lack of balance at events center around the complaint that “there are no women or minorities in this field.” Even when underrepresented individuals have been convened, their voices and contributions are often unwittingly bypassed or sometimes blatantly ignored. Organizers face challenges in utilizing networks, logistics to accommodate family care issues, and funding challenges.

Suggested actions

  • Reflect or exceed your diversity goals in the composition of the organising committee and speaker program mix.
  • Consult speaker lists and network among contacts to expand beyond these current lists.
  • Plan in advance with child care and travel support to avoid last minute compromises.
  • Choose an organising committee composed of a majority of the underrepresented groups you are seeking to engage.
  • Require that committees set target percentages for speaker lineups: e.g. ≧50% women, ≧20% Blacks or people of colour or underrepresented groups, ≧30% PhD students or early career researchers.
  • Utilise lists below and brainstorm about candidates to invite.


Lists of repositories and organisations:

Examples of Best practices

  1. Best practices for organizers; (international)
  2. Inclusive Scientific Meetings: Where to Start, Guide to Organizing; 500 Women Scientists
  3. Making researcher meetings inclusive; Wellcome Trust (UK)
  4. Organizing a conference? ; ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (CH)
  5. Childcare at conferences conundrum; Calisi et al., (2018), PNAS, Working Group of Mothers in Science

Tools to measure the inclusivity of your meeting

  1. Conference Diversity Calculator; Aanand Prasad (UK)
  2. Female Conference Speaker Bingo - typical excuses to counteract; GenderAvenger (US)