British Science Association
Many of society’s challenges will need solutions from science, such as water scarcity, climate change, antibiotic resistance, obesity and malnutrition, mental health, and many others. Physicist, Dr Michio Kaku, describes science as the “engine of prosperity”, and I wholeheartedly agree.
But in order for us to reap science’s benefits, we need to involve the most talented people with the broadest range of experiences. We need more diversity; not only across the genders, but also across ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, etc.
Sadly, people still face challenges because of their characteristics. This occurs in obvious ways, such as discrimination – Google employees recently hit the headlines after doing a global walk out, protesting claims of systemic racism and gender bias at the tech giant. But impacts are also felt in less blatant ways. Only last month, Amazon had to scrap an artificial intelligence recruitment tool because it taught itself that men were preferable job candidates.
How does this happen? I believe it’s because these industries still aren’t diverse. Homogenous groups lead to inherent biases and a narrow shared world-view. It’s therefore vital that our science industries become much more inclusive, welcoming as much diversity as our species has to offer.
Many organisations are working hard at this endeavour, from the award-winning social enterprise STEMettes to the Minorities in STEM network. This campaign is also part of this important work. The stories you’ll read here give valuable information, advice and hope for everyone, so that we can work together to make science an endeavour that reflects the full richness and diversity of our society.