Report launch: A sense of belonging in the chemical sciences
Unless people feel they belong, they are unlikely to thrive in our profession. That’s why we commissioned the first ever study of chemical scientists’ lived experiences of belonging in the chemical sciences.
Belonging matters. It affects chemists’ ability to share ideas, try new things, collaborate and ultimately to enjoy their work and stay in the profession.
Our new report ‘A sense of belonging in the chemical sciences’ represents the first ever research on what belonging means to chemists and what helps or hinders their sense of belonging in the chemical sciences.
We found that belonging at work mattered to everybody we spoke to. Everybody shared examples of when they felt like an insider, and when they felt like more of an outsider.
However, belonging (like inclusion) and not-belonging (like exclusion) are particularly important in the lives and careers of those groups already under-represented in the chemistry community. Chemists in the focus groups on race and ethnicity, disability and LGBT+, and those who described themselves as being from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, shared powerful stories of the impact of not belonging.
“I’m not who I used to be. I’m missing myself. You have to change to fit in, but then you stop being yourself, stop recognising yourself.”
Our sense of belonging is subjective and arises from our day-to-day experiences. We therefore did a qualitative study to better understand this phenomenon. We held a series of online interviews and focus groups with chemists based in the UK and internationally in spring 2021. We asked them about their lived experiences of belonging and not-belonging in the chemical sciences.
This study enriches the quantitative and qualitative data we have previously gathered on inclusion and diversity in the chemical sciences, and helps us better understand how to make the chemical sciences a community where people from all backgrounds feel welcome and can do their best.
Chief Executive Dr Helen Pain said: “When people feel they belong, they are more able to share their ideas, be creative and collaborate. Not only do they enjoy their work more, but they perform better. The result is that they are more likely to stay in our profession and contribute to the success of the chemical sciences.”
Read the report here
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