© Allen Pope, Neelu Singh, Elizabeth Erickson, Ribanna Dittrich
The APECS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Project Group aims to ensure that one’s identity is not a barrier to success in polar science. Our specific goals are to:
- Facilitate international and interdisciplinary dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and equity in the polar science community;
- Provide resources for APECS members facing identity-related challenges, as well as bystanders, allies, and leaders in our communities;
- Ensure that the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity remain embedded in APECS and related communities now and in the future.
Each of the terms “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equity” has a specific and important meaning. The following definitions are based on current research and applied for work in the field.
Diversity is the presence of a variety of individual identities within a particular setting. Diversity may be based on race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, nationality, language, religious beliefs, age, career status, physical appearance, disability status, and other identity markers. Individuals and groups often affiliate with multiple, intersecting identities.
Inclusion is the act of creating an environment in which any individual or group feels welcomed, respected, and valued. An inclusive group is by definition diverse, but a diverse group is not necessarily inclusive: the creation of an inclusive environment requires attention to the experience of individuals from diverse backgrounds and the challenges they face1. Inclusive organizations must actively combat harassment, assault, implicit bias, and other aspects of exclusionary cultures through bottom-up and top-down efforts.
1In case the distinction is confusing, a simple way to think about this is that “Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” - Verna Myers, inclusion strategist.
Equity refers to the process of ensuring that everyone has equal access to opportunities. Equity recognizes that not all members of a group or community start from the same place, have equal access to resources, or have equal paths to advancement. Therefore equity requires ensuring all members have what they need to be successful. In this way equity differs from equality, which implies treating everyone the same, regardless of their needs. Diverse, inclusive environments benefit members only if they are also equitable environments within which everyone has truly equal access to resources and opportunities. Like inclusion, equity requires actively combating harassment, assault, implicit bias, and other aspects of exclusionary cultures through bottom-up and top-down efforts.
This project group emphasizes that diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments benefit polar research overall, which is strengthened by contributions from diverse participants (diversity), especially when participants are welcomed and not subject to discrimination (e.g., through harassment, assault, or bias) (inclusion), and when all participants have sufficient resources and access to contribute at all levels of polar research (equity)
Source: United Nations System Staff College; Independent Sector; University of Michigan Institute for Social Research; London School of Economics: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and The Diversity Collegium, via UN Global Compact.