EDI seminar: Top 10 Strategies to Fix the Problem of Bias and Discrimination in STEM
Presented by Lisa Willis, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta
Interested in attending this virtual seminar? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.
Top 10 Strategies to Fix the Problem of Bias and Discrimination in STEMWe are better scientists when we surround ourselves with people of diverse identities and backgrounds – we are more creative, we process facts more carefully, and we are more productive. However, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence demonstrating that people from under-represented groups (URGs), including women, racialized and Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals, continue to face substantial discrimination in STEM. This discrimination occurs as both overt bias, where one person thinks they are better than another, and unconscious bias, which is expressed through unintended actions that arise from repeated exposure to pervasive cultural stereotypes. Regardless of intent, both overt and unconscious bias result in discrimination against individuals from URGs. More importantly, our independent biases collectively contribute to a culture that systematically discriminates against people from URGs in STEM. While this problem has been recognized for decades, it is concerning that in Canada, the USA, and much of Europe, the percentage of people from URGs obtaining postsecondary degrees, especially at the MSc and PhD levels, has not substantially improved in over a decade. We need to do something different if we are to fix the problem of discrimination in STEM. We need to acknowledge that our individual actions contribute to a collective society that collectively discriminates against people and that we all need to actively work on a...