Set concrete goals & identify relevant actions
We are all biased. What can we do? The ALBA Declaration on Equity & Inclusion advises to commit to recognizing & counteracting bias, by setting concrete goals & identifying relevant actions. This article provides useful tips & resources on best practices about identifying concrete objectives based on an institution’s statistical records.
Neuroscience departments and programs in the U.S. and Europe often have a healthy percentage of graduate school applications from women (>50%) but faculty represents only 25-30% of all neuroscience PhD program faculty. Latest data from 2016 for Europe shows that women in STEM made up 37% of doctoral students but held only 15% of full professorship academic positions. Since women are 50% of the population, there are more available datapoints and a larger footprint, but other underrepresented group often experience far worse disparities, prejudices, and lower percentages. In the U.S., Blacks comprise 13% of the population, yet full-time Black faculty in all fields make up less than 6% of total, according to estimates by the National Center for Education Statistics. And, according to the National Science Foundation, for more than a decade only about 5% of the 50,000 students earning PhDs each year are Black. Furthermore, intersectionality – when an individual belongs to more than one disadvantaged group – can worsen the inequity.
- Review your institution’s statistical records for women and other underrepresented groups.
- Find relevant objectives for improving representation across student and faculty departments.
- Strategize on evidence-based actions that can move you towards your goals.
- Set goals, identify bottlenecks, establish timeframes.
Examples of statistical records:
- Promoting Diversity statistics in Neuroscience; Nature Neuroscience Editorial
- She Figures 2018 statistics; European Union publications (EU)
- Race/ethnicity of U.S. college faculty; National Center for Education Statistics (US)
Examples of action plans:
- Gender Equality Plan 2013-2015; Uppsala University (SE)
- Strategies for Enhancing the Diversity of Neuroscience Researchers; NIH- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (US)
- Gender Equality Strategy & Action Plan 2014-2016; Maynooth University (IE)
- Diversity policy and action plan for 2019-2023; Ghent University (BE)
- 2019-2021 Action Plan Goal; IOWA University (US)
- 2020 Revision Action Plan; University of South Carolina (US)
- Increasing the Representation of People with Disabilities in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics; DO-IT (US)