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Research has a diversity problem. Many groups are underrepresented in research including women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and socially disadvantaged populations. Attention to the issue is growing, and some institutions and scientific communities are actively seeking to increase diversity. But far more needs to be done.
This collection of articles, a collaboration between Nature Research and Scientific American, focuses on the barriers faced by women and how they might be overcome, but also includes articles about the challenges encountered by other underrepresented groups in science. The collection highlights our long-standing commitment to covering gender-related issues and other aspects of diversity. We hope that this collection will stimulate discussion and build support for greater diversity in research and beyond.
Aref Kyyaly fled the Syrian civil war to the United Kingdom with his family in 2014. Since leaving the country, Kyyaly has joined the University of Southampton, where he now researches the early detection of allergies. Nature speaks to him about his experiences.
When ecologist Rachel Katz was offered a government job in a region with few academic options for her partner, herpetologist Sean Sterrett, a decision-analysis tool helped to solve their ‘two-body problem’.
Scientists in areas that lack basic provisions — including dependable electricity, water supplies and funding — do research that has a high societal impact. Five people describe the challenges they face.
Materials research is poised to play a pivotal role in addressing the grand challenges faced by society, from engineering better medicines to providing accessible clean water and renewable energy. However, complex problems require diverse teams. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the diversity gap in materials science and engineering, especially for women.
The percentage of women in post-graduate physics positions has stalled just below 20%. The most precipitous drop in women’s representation occurs between high school and university; however, women at all career stages struggle with ongoing cultural burdens and obstacles.
Ethnic and racial diversity are extremely low among United States citizens and permanent residents who earned doctorates in earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences. Worse, there has been little to no improvement over the past four decades.
Speaking at a scientific conference helps spread scientific results and is also fundamental for career advancement. Here the authors show that at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the largest Earth and space science conference, women are offered speaking opportunities less often than men overall.
Gender disparities in science are well documented. An analysis of 1,224 recommendation letters from 54 countries for geoscience postdoctoral fellowships reveals that women are half as likely to receive an excellent letter as men.
Immunologists appreciate the need for creative approaches to tackle complex scientific questions, which can involve not only the use of novel technologies but also the experience of scientists from diverse backgrounds. Here, we highlight measures to prime for the inclusion of women and underrepresented individuals in science to boost immunology research.
Although there is a keen awareness of the gender gap in the physical sciences, a healthy female representation has yet to be achieved. This article offers some possible explanations, in addition to strategies to more rapidly achieve gender balance in the physical sciences.
Omissions of qualified women scientists from major meeting programs continue to occur despite a surge in articles indicating persistent gender-discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion, and calls for gender balance in conference organizing committees.
Lack of diversity in study populations, research methodologies and the researchers themselves undermines the goal of identifying and understanding the full range of human behaviour. Medin et al. argue that this system of non-diversity represents a crisis for the science of human behaviour.
Chemistry education and research in Africa is challenging — a fact that is clearly reflected by publication metrics. Yet this is far from the full story on a continent that has youth on its side, a cultural link to chemistry through its strong interest in plants and indigenous medicine, and an increasing number of ways forward.
Women are underrepresented in the science and engineering fields. Difficulties in balancing family life and work have a big role in women's opting out of scientific career paths. Institutions and funding agencies need to work harder to reverse this disparity.
Science, including the fields of ecology and evolution, must advocate a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and bullying. This means promoting safe workspaces in all contexts, and letting go of the idea that fieldwork entails special circumstances.
Chemistry research and education face challenges anywhere in the world, but more so in less developed — or less stable — economies. These countries and their more economically fortunate neighbours can all contribute to the development of chemistry and its ability to tackle local and global issues.
Despite much emphasis on diversity in the US, geoscience remains one of the least diverse scientific disciplines. If we want to achieve and maintain diversity, we need to make our work environments welcoming to a broad spectrum of voices.