Constraining Geochemistry’s Community Demographics

Little, Susan; Labidi, Jabrane; Amy, Riches; Bots, Pieter; Anand, Pallavi; Arndt, Sandra; Li, Zimin; Maters, Elena; Marin-Cambonne, Johanna; Chi Fru, Earnest; Pourret, Olivier; Ngwenya, Bryne and Samankassou, Elias (2021). Constraining Geochemistry’s Community Demographics. In: Goldschmidt Conference 2021, 4-9 Jul 2021, Leon, France.

Abstract

The Black Lives Matter movement[1] and the global COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted inequalities in opportunities and vastly different lived experiences. This pandemic has exacerbated professional challenges among disproportionately affected and historically minoritized and marginalised people. Excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is foundational for scientists to thrive and reach their full potential. Together, these factors have prompted the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) to reflect on how to better DEI across all sectors, levels of employ, and positions of community leadership.
It is with increased urgency that the EAG is acting to raise awareness of persisting challenges; creating new initiatives to reform practices that marginalise talented people, while building kind and understanding community cultures that are actively anti-racist and anti-discriminatory. In 2020, the EAG’s newly-constituted DEI Committee was charged with challenging the status quo and addressing system-wide barriers to participation in geochemistry and cosmochemistry[2]. Key to this committee’s work is the development of a DEI strategic plan and recommendations, informed by tangible data, for EAG Council. It is well documented that the wider geosciences continue to be gated, and is one of the least diverse STEM fields. Lack of diversity is detrimental for representation, but also critically limits scientific excellence[3]. This knowledge leads us to ask: does geochemistry and cosmochemistry - having particular field, laboratory, and instrument needs - foster less diverse communities relative to other fields within and beyond geosciences? If so, what are the procedural barriers and processes preventing underrepresented groups from thriving?
We have prepared a survey to circulate among the membership (on an anonymous basis) after this Goldschmidt Conference to constrain the make up of our community. This survey will provide the first demographic data specific to our community, thereby benchmarking both our present mix and the condition of our culture. We appeal to the membership to engage and come together to help identify priority challenges and help us address them.
1Cooperdock et al., 2020. Black Lives Matter...Elements. http://elementsmagazine.org/2020/08/01/black-lives-matter-promoting-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-geochemistry/
2Riches et al., 2021. Uniting to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. https://blog.eag.eu.com/advance-dei-pandemic-post-pandemic/
3Bernard and Cooperdock, 2018. No progress on diversity in 40 years. Nature Geosci. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0116-6

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