Belonging matters Every chemist we spoke to said a sense of belonging mattered to them
Well-being Belonging affects chemists’ confidence, self-esteem, sense of self and mental health
Better work Belonging impacts innovation, creativity, productivity, collaboration, performance, progression and retention
Not belonging Focus groups from all under-represented groups shared powerful stories of the impact of not belonging
The Royal Society of Chemistry is committed to making the chemical sciences more inclusive and diverse. But research shows that including people isn’t enough. 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.
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
What does belonging mean to you?
In this video, members of the Advisory Group who helped shape this project discuss the findings of the research, as well as sharing their own powerful lived experiences. Taking part in this video are: Symiah Barnett (Loughborough University), Dr Jane Essex (University of Strathclyde), Ross McLaughlin (Sellafield Ltd) and Professor Marina Resmini (Queen Mary University of London).
What did we discover?
Chemists highlighted four aspects, four barriers and five enablers of belonging in the chemical sciences.
The four aspects of belonging:
- Being part of a shared community with a shared identity
- Being able to contribute to that community
- Being accepted personally and professionally
- A sense of having a right to be part of the community
The four barriers to belonging:
- Being told that you don’t belong (indirectly or directly) in the chemical sciences community
- Being ‘the only’ person in the community with a particular lived experience or identity
- Being excluded and ‘othered’ by other peoples’ assumptions, stereotypes and biases
- The culture of the chemistry community, arising from its demographics, behaviours, norms and values, which can make it harder for people from under-represented groups to feel they belong
The five enablers of belonging:
Experiencing positive, professional relationships that are supportive, kind and encouraging
Feeling accepted and respected for whoever you are, whatever your professional background, gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic background, or disability
Not having assumptions made about you, or having other people reduce your uniqueness to a stereotype
Seeing evidence of organisations taking action to create an inclusive culture
Intention to belong
Developing and displaying self-confidence, and sometimes having to adapt or hide aspects of yourself to fit in
Our three commitments
We will host further conversations about belonging with our governance and committees, networks and communities
We will further develop our existing networks for members and nonmembers to foster an improved sense of belonging in the chemical sciences
We will develop a toolkit to help organisations and individuals foster belonging in the chemical sciences, using the five enablers and other insights from this study
- See all of our inclusion and diversity surveys and reports
- Read our inclusion and diversity strategy
- Use our resources to promote inclusion and diversity
- See relevant events and activities
- Sign up for Broadening Horizons - our pilot to support chemistry students and graduates from minoritised racial and ethnic backgrounds to pursue careers in chemistry
- Access our bullying and harassment support
- See our other inclusion and diversity work
Visit our other policy, evidence and campaign pages
- +44 (0) 20 7440 3351
- Send us an email