Diversity in the workplace
One of my roles at Swansea University is to champion change and support increasing diversity in all we do to ‘utilise all our talent’ and support achieving a culture where everyone feels they can be themselves and in turn produce their best work. Toward this there is some related photos of recent activities with the LGBT+ community (LGBTQ month at Swansea University).
As part of this I recently gave a presentation at an Inside Government event in London on supporting and promoting women in STEM subjects and careers. My topic was to present Swansea University as a case study and describe what we had done to achieve this aim in practical terms. Interestingly, I noticed the audience was comprised of many people who had roles that had been created relatively recently, or were very new to these roles themselves. These included advisors or support for Athena SWAN initiatives and Equality and Diversity officers. All were keen to hear and share further ideas that would aid in bringing about more inclusivity in the workplace. Because of this largely new group of people, there was a great deal of learning and forging of new ideas to apply across a large number of institutions, so hopefully the conversations will continue to support increased diversity. There were wonderful sessions for example, by Professor Uta Frith and Helen Wollaston of the WISE campaign; these made for very lively discussion and networking sessions. There were practical ways presented to take positive actions to encourage more talented women to apply for senior roles and to increase the diversity within leadership positions. The tweets can be found under #IGSTEM17.
Regarding the issue of few women in senior positions, a few years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Marjorie Stephenson and Me’ for the Society for General Microbiology (now the Microbiology Society), emphasising the need and benefits for greater inclusion and participation of women in learned societies too, as well as in the workplace. There are still few women in such leadership roles and actively participating at senior levels in learned societies. The Microbiology Society recently reposted my article, causing me to consider what has changed since 2012. Since the article I have been pleased to be the Society’s Diversity Champion and worked with an excellent group of volunteers and Society staff to draw up and set expectations for an Equality and Diversity plan for the Society. Through this Group and embedding diversity in many areas of the learned society significant changes have been achieved. In May I will be presenting this work at a Royal Society of Biology event and so am reviewing much of the work and progress since then. I am hopeful that when the data are ready that the year on year improvements in diversity will be apparent!
More information about Professor Lappin-Scott and her work can be found at the following links:
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