We are heartened and excited by the current best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion that exist. These practices can be implemented by everyone from professors and funders to conference organizers, science writers, and individual scientists themselves.
Equitable best practices take concrete steps to ensure that women are considered fairly for funding, resources, awards, speaking roles at conferences, and other important career opportunities that are integral to advancing one’s scientific career.
Research shows that decision-making processes can be made more fair by employing practices such as:
- Using a double-blind review process
- Using a facilitator to keep review committee members focused on agreed-upon criteria
- Minimizing over-reliance on letters of reference and other application components that are known to be biased against certain groups¹
It is also possible to take concrete steps to ensure that departments and individuals address biases that impact student, postdoc, and faculty experiences and opportunities within institutions. These steps include:
- Addressing a culture that privileges masculine behaviors
- Ensuring that women serve as chairs on decision making committees
- Interrogating teaching and cultural practices that have been in place for decades that do not support diverse student populations²
- Conducting bias literacy training, which has been shown to have a major impact on individuals and their subsequent behavior, and can help address many of the ways in which faculty may unknowingly treat students, postdocs, and each other³
As research continues in this space, we will add more resources for addressing these challenges. We know it is important to keep improving our policies and practices as new information comes to light.
¹ Yen 2019, Koren 2018, Strolger and Natarajan 2019
² Cheryan and Markus 2020, Nittrouer et al 2018, Colwell et al 2020
³ Carnes et al 2012, Moss-Racusin et al 2014, Prochaska et al 2006
Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.