Declaration action point: Set concrete goals

Posted on 16/12/2021 in Data

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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.

Issues

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.

Suggested actions

  • 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.

Resources

Examples of statistical records:

Examples of action plans: