About the ESEB Equal Opportunities (EO) Committee
The scientific community of evolutionary biology does not reflect the diversity of broader society in most countries, and definitely not that of the world. In this respect, evolutionary biology resembles every other area in the natural sciences and, it is worth noting, those in the humanities and social sciences. Some might claim that this mismatch reflects differences in what people from different walks of life choose to study. But it is well known that many factors bias the retention of people who start out wanting a career in academia. The same processes of discrimination and discouragement that occur within academia are also likely to apply long before people decide whether or not to study evolutionary biology. Access to information and resources clearly plays a key role in people’s choices.
The process of exclusion that leads to women disproportionately dropping out of science (‘the leaky pipeline’) is well documented, but it is likely to apply to many other groups, e.g., based on ancestry, nationality, skin colour, religion, income and socioeconomic status, disabilities, neurodivergence, sexual orientation and much more. ESEB is committed to fostering an appreciation of evolution in the wider community, and to promote the study of evolutionary biology. As core principles, we aim to increase public interest in evolutionary biology, the ability to study evolution, and the ability to sustain a career in evolutionary biology. To do this we must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hear about, study and work in evolutionary biology. We also have to ensure that everyone has the resources and tools to take advantage of opportunities. The world is, of course, an unfair place. The challenges are immense, and our resources are few. But we believe it is possible to promote change, even if it happens on a small scale, and these are aspirational goals worth striving for. ESEB therefore created an Equal Opportunities Committee (EO) to think about and promote more equal opportunities across the world in evolutionary biology. The committee is formed by researchers (professors, postdocs or PhD students) that volunteer to organise grants and activities that increase diversity in evolutionary biology. The Equal Opportunities committee is committed to:
- Sponsor activities (e.g., workshops, seminars, symposia) through the Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund and the Under-represented Early Career Research Achievement Awards that:
- increase awareness of evolutionary biology for those who lack access to information.
- identify challenges for members of under-represented groups who wish to study and pursue a career in evolutionary biology; provide information on how to handle these challenges; and inform others how best to support their colleagues.
- help to build collaborative networks for members of under-represented groups who wish to study and pursue a career in evolutionary biology.
- increase the profile of members of under-represented groups in evolutionary biology.
- counter the promotion of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other prejudices by highlighting the historic and ongoing misuse of evolutionary biology.
- Provide funding through the Congress Attendance Aid Grants to increase the ability of colleagues with backgrounds that result in insufficient financial resources to attend conferences and workshops (e.g., in low-income countries, with childcare duties, etc).
- Ensure that members of the evolutionary biology community can provide feedback to the ESEB Executive to create policies and implement practices that fulfil the aims of the society. For example, maximising the participation of all ESEB members in conferences by considering the difficulty (or impossibility) of acquiring visas for citizens of some countries, or the challenges parents face; or by being aware of the physical dangers that exist for those whose sexuality, ancestry or appearance puts them at risk in certain countries. If you wish to provide feedback or offer advice, please write to us at email@example.com.
We genuinely believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion should be part of the core values of our academic culture. We need to maintain efforts to be more inclusive in our reach and activities as a Society; to be alert to the potential influences of unconscious bias to which we are all prone; to adopt and act on policies that increase diversity; and to combat all forms of prejudice. The ESEB Equal Opportunity Committee welcomes suggestions from our members on what more we can do.
Your EO committee
Anne Charmantier, Chair, CEFE, CNRS, FR
Camila Beraldo, University of Helsinki, FI
Noah Hensen, Stockholm University, SE
Michael Jennions, Australian National University, AU
Kelley Leung, University of Groningen, NL
Öncü Maraci, University of Bielefeld, DE
Next deadline: May 1st, 2024
Support for activities that aim to improve equal opportunities or projects that will enhance our knowledge about unequal opportunities.
Next deadline to be announced in autumn 2024
The grant aims to increase the attendance of members of groups where financial constraints contribute to underrepresentation (e.g. cost of childcare, high costs relative to funding for those from low-income countries).
Next deadline to be announced in autumn 2024
These awards are aimed to highlight the achievements of under-represented early-career researchers (ECRs) who have faced difficult circumstances while conducting their work.