The Equity Working Group conducted a survey which coincided with ESA2018 in Brisbane. The survey had 79 respondents. One of the important outcomes from the survey was the around 30% of respondents did not identify as heterosexual or ‘straight’.
There is increasing awareness of the underrepresentation of minorities in the sciences. Recognising this inequality is the first step to meeting the challenge of enhancing diversity and inclusivity in science. A 2013 survey (Yoder and Mattheis 2016) of people in STEM fields found that 40% of LGBTQ+ identified respondents are not out to their colleagues. This is not the culture we strive for in ecology, and not within ESA. Enhancing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people (umbrella term for non-heterosexual or cisgender individuals: Queer) in ecology is important to enhancing the inclusive and diverse culture of the scientific field in Australia. ESA is in the position to influence the broader community of ecologists and ecology-related fields in Australia.
Modelling off of the success of the British Ecological Society (BES) LGBT+ network and mixers (https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/membership-community/diversity/) , we will host a Queer mixer at ESA19 in Launceston. This event will be a fun, informal event where people can chat and network over a drink in a welcoming and inclusive setting.
Equity or Diversity Concerns? – You’ve got an Ally!
We are striving to improve Equity and Diversity within ESA (and elsewhere) via our Equity and Diversity Policy and the addition of the Conference Code of Conduct. On a more personal level though, we want to provide a safe space for our members and conference attendees to raise issues outside of formal pathways, because often, the best time to say something is now!
ESA has nominated a team of Equity and Diversity Allies at the 2019 conference to provide support for members who may have an equity and/or diversity issue, and to provide an avenue to lodge feedback or a complaint.
If you would like to talk to someone please seek out one of the people listed below (look for the rainbow lanyard!). If you can’t find them, just ask at the ESA booth and we will help link you up. We can guarantee that any conversations will be handled with understanding and confidentiality.
ESA Equity & Diversity Allies
Andrea (Andy) Leigh
Interested in joining or contributing to the Equity & Diversity Working Group? Contact Gail at the ESA Booth.