As we have highlighted previously, The Physiological Society was one of the first signatories to the Science Council’s Declaration on Diversity. We welcomed this initiative and the recognition that there is room to improve the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in all areas of science – including at our own Society.
The Society has taken its commitment to this Declaration seriously. Under the guidance of our Diversity Champions, we have made some significant improvements to our knowledge and practices – made possible by the engagement of staff, members and Trustees, and the support of the Science Council and its networks.
Our work began with surveys of the staff and membership. With the results used in conjunction with retrospective analyses and benchmarking studies, we have made the following changes and improvements since 2015 (note the list is not exhaustive):
- Unconscious Bias training available to all staff, Council and Committee members.
- Unconscious Bias workshop for members at our main conference
- Mandatory targets of 25 % and aspirational targets of 33% for female speakers in all symposia and Departmental Seminar Schemes
- Early Career Networking events
Signing the Declaration has catalysed a review of The Society’s activities from a different perspective; whilst we didn’t previously consider ourselves to be exclusive in any way, we are now aware that others may have considered us so. To address this, we intend to review each of our specific activities for their level of ‘inclusivity’, and to promote positive actions through regular updates to our website and via email to the membership when needed.
Ensuring access to our scientific events is a critically important Diversity, Equality and Inclusion consideration for us. Physically bringing together hundreds of people to progress the discipline of physiology is a challenging and complex task, but The Society is keen to enable everyone to attend. To a greater or lesser extent, every physiologist will have a different requirement to facilitate and enhance their engagement at a scientific meeting (such as Physiology 2016). Some steps that we have taken to ensure that you feel welcome and able to engage have been listed below:
- Funding available for those with caring responsibilities (For more information and how to apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Free guest registration
- Rooms for breastfeeding mothers
- Child care facilities, where possible and practical
- Early career networking events
- Catering for specialist diets
- Prayer facilities
- Live streaming of key lectures, available free of charge
Barriers and obstacles can be diverse, and sometimes hidden, but we are keen to address these wherever possible. So, whilst we take every step to ensure attendance and engagement is possible, we always welcome feedback for improvements and allowances. Please contact email@example.com to discuss any specific needs that you might have.