Opportunities for collaboration
The discussion that followed was led by some excellent questions and challenges from the audience. Jenni Dyer from the Institute of Physics asked whether stereotypes in the chemical sciences are affecting the ‘leaky pipeline’; Zamila Bunglawala from the Cabinet Office asked whether the sciences were setting hard targets for inclusion and diversity; and Lenna Cumberbatch from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine challenged the report’s strong focus on gender, and asked what activities the Royal Society of Chemistry had planned to tackle other dimensions of diversity.
One of the recommendations of the report is for more effective collaboration across the scientific community, and the panel were particularly pleased to see a diverse audience, with representatives from other learned societies, higher education institutions and industry.
“I think it's really exciting,” said Dr Lindsay Harding, on the opportunities for collaboration that the event has opened up. “Why would we all be separately inventing the wheel? There's so much best practice that we can share. If you're talking about inclusion and diversity, you need to include people and you need to be talking to people who are different from you.”
“The joint effort from my perspective is first and foremost, starting a conversation within the chemical industry,” said Dr Simon Grant. “I can thank my company Thomas Swan, and my boss, Harry Swan, who allows me to do take part in this really important committee, because it's actually affecting the way that people work. Cultural change will take a long time but we've got to start somewhere.”
We will use the report to guide and shape our next steps, with activity already planned to address mental health and LGBT+ issues.
“I believe it positions the Royal Society of Chemistry perfectly for future efforts in inclusion and diversity,” said Professor Yellowlees CBE. “Read it, digest it and most importantly, help us to make a difference.”
Download the report and find out more about our developing inclusion and diversity strategy.
Check out our activity on Twitter @RoySocChem and join in with #ChemistryForEveryone.