Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Steering Group
About the Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework
As a professional science body, or Professional Engineering Institution, you’ve probably heard about the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Progression Framework. It was developed in collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council to progress D&I across 63 engineering and science professional bodies. The Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework helps professional bodies track and plan progress on D&I.
Developed by a group from the professional bodies, it focuses on progress on D&I in eight areas relevant to professional body activity:
- Governance and leadership
- Membership and professional registration
- Meetings, conferences and events
- Education and training, accreditation and examinations
- Prizes, awards and grants
- Communications, marketing, outreach and engagement
- Monitoring and measuring.
So it’s a Framework developed by the sector, for the sector. It’s relevant, comprehensive and an easy to use self-assessment tool. For many professional bodies, it has been the starting point for their equality and diversity action plan and whilst there are eight areas, you don’t have to embark on all areas at the same time. You can pick and choose which you do based on what is most important and relevant to your organisation. Although of course the more you tackle the better you D&I outcomes will be.
The Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework can be used as an internal tool at any time to:
- structure conversations about performance and progress on D&I
- identify strengths and areas for development
- report on performance to leadership teams or boards
- plan next steps in making progress on D&I.
So what is it like to use the Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework?
“There is going to be a huge benefit to our organisation in using this framework to help guide us in identifying the next practical steps in each of the areas described, so it’s hugely useful, thank you!”
Institute of Engineering Designers (IED)
“It helped to focus our minds on DEI and raise its profile at our council meetings and enabled us to consider its implication in the wider context of our organisation.”
Society for Cardiological Science and Technology
“It gives a sense of achievement where we are doing quite well, and inspiration to do more. A reminder of areas where we are not yet making progress, inspiration to tackle these next.”
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
“A good starting point to begin the conversation and increased confidence that we are all moving in the same direction in the same way.”
Operational Research Society
“The framework has been incredibly useful in helping us facilitate conversations on diversity and inclusion across the organisation and identify ways in which we can improve practice. It provides a benchmark by which we can measure improvement.”
The Progression Framework Steering Group would like to help ALL professional science bodies and PEIs to start using the Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework. We have put together resources, templates and case studies to help you, which you will find below. And we would be happy to provide you with a partner organisation to answer questions and share their learning with you.
Widening participationby the CEO of Institution of Agricultural Engineers I have always found the subject of widening participation interesting and in previous job roles, inspecting colleges and training providers, I have frequently found myself in a conversation about what is being done to address the challenge. Clearly there are societal attitudes to be overcome and I recall recently a television programme where children and their parents, separately, we asked to draw an image of people undertaking a range of jobs, from brain surgeon through to motor mechanic. There was surprise (and some outrage) when the real job holders turned up proving that people, in general, hold a somewhat stereo typical view of what an engineer or technologist might look like. There is no doubt, in my mind, that if young people were asked to draw a picture of an agricultural engineer, the resulting image may well reinforce the traditional image. I can’t think of any employer who would knowingly not buy in to the idea of promoting equality and diversity and may well latch on to the traditional matters of gender and race saying that they would be quite happy to employ anyone from these groups. Why wouldn’t they? However, I feel that the greatest challenge we face is the rural/urban divide, a point I made at a recent meeting and one which raised a few eyebrows. Once I had described it, there was an acceptance that I had a point. This comes down to “unconscious bias”. Unconscious bias happens automatically, outside our control, and is triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. And then there is conscious bias, in other words, outright prejudice! The question of the urban/rural divide became even more apparent in a conversation with a group of students following an Agricultural Engineering course about how many of them were from a “farming background”. It was the majority! This begs many questions. What are we doing to promote our industry to a more diverse audience? How can we change the perceptions of those people who look into our industry from the outside and perhaps have a preconceived view of who we are and what we do? Are we, through our unconscious bias, unknowingly putting up barriers? It is time we started challenging the view by some employers that “we like to employ people from a farming background because they understand the industry, the working patterns and the need for long hours and flexibility”. By taking that view, surely we are closing the door and opportunities to those from a more diverse background who might bring new ideas and new vibrancy to our industry. Perhaps those who complain the most about the recruitment challenge should hold up a mirror and ask if it is their unconscious bias which is the barrier.
Gender Balance: changing the narrativeby Terry Fuller Chief Executive, The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management In October I attended an event that reinforced my beliefs about how we meet the immense challenges we face in managing water and our environment. The event was organised by Women in Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM), the group initiated in the UK by Environment Agency deputy director flood and coastal risk management Clare Dinnis. This networking group of professionals, set up to support and connect women working across FCERM, focuses on women, and those who line manage and mentor them. I was delighted to participate. Professional Institution have a golden opportunity and an absolute responsibility to support gender balance in our profession. This is imperative but the event reminded me how the changes we make to address gender balance will shape both the diversity of our profession and our ability to meet global challenges. I described the ways in which can make a big difference. Career breaks were central to the discussion – too often our professions lose women at maternity leave. This is a period in which professional confidence can be lost, women feeling out of touch with industry and practice and bringing a perceived loss of professional capability. Professional Institutions can make a positive contribution, maintaining continuing professional development (CPD), mentoring, providing industry updates, holding events at accessible times and places and online and offering on demand resources such as webinars. Although this is a significant factor for many, it is not for all. One speaker felt defined as a child bearer, bringing all sorts of limiting presumptions about her career aspirations and career choices. There are many other reasons for gender imbalance. Our professional environments can still be unappealing and discouraging, even hostile, to women. I witness these behaviours in meetings to this day. My institution, CIWEM, will continue to address gender imbalance – in our institution and in the professions we serve. But for all the organisational changes and support activities we can introduce, it is the narrative that has to change. We recently introduced simple measures to enable a CIWEM trustee to remain on the board during her first year of childcare. Our trustee is a fantastic contributor to board meetings and we did not want to lose that contribution for at least a year due to meetings’ physical constraints. That perspective focuses on individuals’ value, elevating the debate beyond doing a good thing. Addressing gender imbalance is imperative; it is unacceptable and embarrassing that this remains an issue. Gender imbalance is visible, easy to measure and its causes are easier to grasp than those of many other forms of under-representation. But tackling this empowers us to tackle all forms of imbalance. By supporting maternity leave we create a culture and practices that support a healthy work-life balance for all. That values all life experiences. In a healthy workplace, no one feels hostility; everyone feels able to be heard and to contribute. Challenging gender stereotypes supports working environments in which everyone, no matter how traditionally masculine or feminine, can participate. It enshrines values that encourage participation regardless of age, race and sexual orientation. I believe it takes the broadest possible range of perspectives and ideas to achieve sustainable management of water and our environment. This must be our motive.
I&D: The importance of an evidence based approachby Laura Norton PhD, Senior Programme Manager, Inclusion and Diversity, Royal Society of Chemistry To get the very best scientific outputs we need a diversity of inputs and talents. For this to happen we need a motivating and fully inclusive environment that allows everyone to fulfil their potential. But how do we do this? How do we improve both diversity and inclusion in science? At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we believe in taking an evidence-based approach. We believe in collecting data and carrying out research to draw conclusions and then adapt our way of working accordingly to progress positive change. In February 2018 we released the Diversity landscape of the chemical sciences. This report used evidence and data to benchmark the current state of diversity within the chemical sciences. As expected, our research showed that the chemical sciences is not fully representative of the diversity of our wider society. We found a lack of diversity in many areas: disability, socio-economic background, age and ethnicity. But the most striking result was that the lack of gender equality continues to be the single most important factor. We see a dramatic drop in the number of women in the chemical sciences as we move through career stages from undergraduate through to professor or equivalent roles. We provided evidence of a lack of retention and poor progression of women through careers in the chemical sciences. The diversity landscape of the chemical sciences is not good enough, currently chemistry is not for everyone. Our next step was to uncover why this was the case – what has led to this lack of diversity particularly in senior positions in the chemical sciences and how can we improve it? Our next ‘experiment’ was to uncover what is really preventing women from remaining in or progressing within the chemical sciences. We gathered data from our community using an online survey, focus groups and interviews and presented this is in our new report Breaking the barriers. Three key barrier themes emerged (1) academic funding structures (2) the academic culture and (3) balancing work with other responsibilities. Through analysing these data we have formulated our own commitments and provided recommendations for our community. We concluded that concerted action from all is required to ensure that talented people are able to reach their full potential regardless of gender. New actions that have resulted from analysis of these data are:
- launching a bullying and harassment helpline;
- launching grants for carers;
- launching an annual recognition for chemistry departments demonstrating significant progress in I&D;
- facilitating an exchange of best practice between peers;
- and launching a gender equality forum to accelerate the required culture change.
Permission has been granted to use or adapt the resources which follow, please acknowledge the source when doing so.
Below you will find the presentations from the workshop: