Assessing diversity and inclusion within the UK’s geochemistry academic workforce
Pallavi Anand1, Francis Appiah2, Anya Lawrence3, Pieter Bots4, Jessica Gagnon5, Shonil Bhagwat2, Amy Riches6,7, Susan Little8, Elena Maters9, Ernest Chi Fru10, Bryne Ngwenya6
1School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, The Open University, UK
2School of Social Sciences and Global Studies, The Open University, UK
3School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Birmingham, UK
4Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde, UK
5Department of Education, University of Manchester, UK
6School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
7The SETI Institute, United States
8Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, UK
9Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK
10School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University, UK
Geochemistry is applied across Earth, environmental and planetary geoscience research. Yet, the first specific workforce diversity data for geochemistry is only now being collected (e.g. EAG-GS led 2022 Global Geochemistry Community Survey). Additionally, national effort is underway to scrutinise detailed and intersectional diversity data (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconmic background, career path) for UK geochemists via ‘Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion within the (geochemistry) Academic Ladder (E-DIAL)’, a project funded by the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council. This project will also collect data to evidence workplace structures and policies specific to the UK’s geochemists.
We will present key findings linked to the geochemistry workforce, including laboratory support staff, from among our survey results to provide a snapshot of the demographics and intersectional representation among the UK geochemistry community within Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). An important facet of this work is our focus on how the allocation, accessibility, and support of geochemistry laboratories are distributed and experienced by all members of the UK community. Furthermore, the study will report on salient aspects of COVID-19 generated impacts and inequities within the geochemistry community. We also present specific findings for experiences that capture evidence of some persisting barriers to individuals and/or geochemistry groups. These exclusionary hurdles include cultural and other obstacles for which we suggest remedies that will advance the representation and further the success of people of minoritised identities within and across the academic ladder.
We aim to use our project findings to develop recommendations for policy and structural reforms among UK HEIs. These actions will ensure sustained progress for accessibility in geochemistry, improved career experiences and representation among geochemists, and shall help people of all identities to realise equitable career progression in the short and long-term. These policy developments and reforms are critical to improving diversity and inclusion not only within UK geosciences, but in wider STEM.