Designing for diversity in astronomy and geophysics

Topic: Other Topics

Session Title: Designing for diversity in astronomy and geophysics


This session wishes to give a platform to those within our community who work on projects that embed EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) into our lives and careers. It also aims to reflect on what we all can and should be doing better, to steer the future of astronomy and geophysics towards being equitable, inclusive, and welcoming to all.

Astronomy, Geophysics and academia as a whole suffer from a whole host of issues relating to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I), such as inability to attract and retain diverse scientists, sexual harassment, bullying, poor work-life balance and incredible pressure to perform, and mental health crises, among many others.

There are pervasive disadvantages for those who exist along axes of marginalisation, especially for those with multiple intersecting identities. As these issues have made their way into the spotlight, there have been efforts, often grassroots, to rectify the inequities in our discipline, so that we can redesign our practices to incorporate EDI.

At the institutional level, EDI efforts can be limited to obtaining perceived ‘gold standards’ such as Athena Swan, and not necessarily benefiting those at the grass-roots level, or consider the impact of such initiatives in the context of intersectionality. Learned societies are increasingly collecting EDI data from their membership, and diversity data at the point of grant submission, which are beginning to highlight the inherent biases, or gaps, within our community. Everyone should feel able and comfortable to pursue a career in STEM no matter their background, gender, orientation, heritage or personal circumstances.

This session aims to showcase the positive actions taken by the community to integrate LGBTQ+, BAME, disabled and first generation scientists, amongst others, into the diverse world of science, and share their evidence-based initiatives to make astronomy and geophysics more equitable and inclusive. We welcome contributions from academics, students, EDI professionals and experts, working on projects such as decolonisation of curricula and socio-economic inclusion in astronomy and geophysics. We would also like to host a workshop or discussion session around prioritising the needs of our community, in terms of addressing EDI, for the next 5 years.

Organiser(s): Sheila Kanani, Ben Fernando, Robert Massey, Jasmine Sandhu, Farideh Honary, Naomi Rowe-Gurney, Ingrid Murray, Luis Wellbanks, Nisha Grewal, Jane Smith


Session 1: Tuesday 16th July, 09:00 – 11:00

Session 2: Tuesday 16th July, 15:00 – 17:00