The Science Council has set itself the strategic ambition of working towards a science workforce that reflects the diversity of society. It is undertaking a programme of work aimed at raising awareness of the importance of diversity as an issue of concern for professional bodies while providing leadership within the sector to increase commitment and investment.
The long-term aim is for a demonstrable commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion to be a requirement for professional bodies who wish to be members of the Science Council.
Importance of supporting diversity, equality and inclusion
There are compelling arguments and evidence for supporting increased equality and diversity in the science workforce. In addition to the moral, ethical and legal reasons for addressing diversity, equality and inclusion, professional bodies will wish to consider the ways in which action can bring benefit to their own organisations and help them better serve society.
Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
At the heart of the Science Council’s project is the Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, which was signed by the IST’s Chairman on 8th October 2014. The Declaration sets out the high level vision that the IST, the Science Council and its member professional bodies will work towards.
What is the IST doing to promote Diversity, Equality and Inclusion?
An elected member of the IST’s Executive, Kevin Oxley, has been appointed as the IST’s Diversity Champion and is in the process of assembling a DEI Team of volunteers to assist with the work needed to ensure that the IST operates in line with the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion and to measure progress.
The Science Council Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
By promoting equality, diversity and inclusion the Science Council and its member bodies will create greater opportunity for any individual to fulfil their scientific potential, irrespective of their background or circumstances. In so doing it will also help science to better serve society by attracting the widest possible talent to the science workforce and fostering a greater diversity of scientific ideas, research and technology.
The Science Council is committed to widening participation in science education and the workplace. To this end the Science Council and its member bodies declare a commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion throughout their communities and challenge prejudice and discrimination1. This will require leadership from the highest level in the Science Council and its member bodies. As a leading voice in science and the application of science, the Science Council will therefore seek every opportunity to be proactive in promoting and communicating this vision to educators, employers, policy makers, opinion formers and other publics.
We, the Institute of Science and Technology, a member body of the Science Council, will proactively promote a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion within our discipline by:
i. Appointing a board level diversity champion who, in partnership with the senior executive staff member in our organisation, will advocate the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion, and be accountable for improving practice and communicating our diversity strategies to our staff, membership and other stakeholders;
ii. Planning and implementing a programme of work to embed the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion into our current organisational policies, practices and behaviours, and enhance the equality of opportunity in our activities as an employer and professional/learned body;
iii. Measuring, assessing and reflecting on our progress annually;
iv. Sharing these outcomes with the Science Council and supporting the collective progress of Science Council member bodies through joint learning and sharing good practice.
For its part the Science Council will provide leadership by committing itself to these undertakings as an employer and exemplar to its members. It will provide resource to actively support its member bodies in the delivery of these aims by: providing advice; facilitating collaboration and the sharing of good practice; and communicating its members’ collective commitment to the value of equality, diversity and inclusion for science and for society.
1 The 2010 Equality Act defines discrimination as treating a person less favourably than someone else, where the reason for less favourable treatment is one or more of the following characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage or civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation. In addition to these characteristics, this Declaration extends to include social economic background and scientific opinion.