By Andrea L. Popp, Anouk Beniest, Anita Di Chiara, Derya Gürer, Elenora van Rijsingen, Mengze Li and Simone Pieber.
The geoscience community has long been recognized as one of the least diverse scientific fields. However, the extent to which this homogeneity affects workplace climate, particularly for under-represented groups, remains unclear (Berhe et al., 2022; Popp et al., 2019). Documented instances of prejudice, unequal treatment, intimidation, and other exclusionary conduct considerably contribute to the low retention rate of minority groups within the geosciences (Marín-Spiotta et al., 2020). Reports on harmful work environments often make headlines, but without comprehensive data on the individuals affected, it is challenging to develop targeted and effective solutions.
In response to this, we have launched an anonymous survey to better understand the experiences of geoscientists from different backgrounds in their workplace environments. And we need your help to get more data! The survey is accessible here and covers crucial topics that impact workplace climates, such as feelings of belonging, appreciation and support, as well as harassment and discrimination. Additionally, it explores potential strategies and recommendations for enhancing workplace climates across the geoscience community.
The survey remains open and we invite all geoscientists to participate and share their experiences. Your insights will help shape future policies and actions aimed at fostering a safe and inclusive workplace environment in the geosciences. Together, we can create a more diverse and equitable community that is better equipped to tackle the pressing challenges facing our planet.
Preliminary results and feedback we received during the recent EGU General Assembly EGU23 underscore the need for institutions to take action in transforming workplace environments into safe spaces where geoscientists can thrive. Here we suggest some steps to achieve this:
- Increase awareness and education: Institutions should promote a culture of understanding and belonging by providing training programs that address implicit biases and inclusion. These programs should be open to all employees, including
faculty, staff, and students.
- Establish clear reporting mechanisms: Transparent and accessible reporting systems for incidents of harassment or discrimination are crucial. This includes providing multiple channels for reporting and ensuring confidentiality and protection for those who come forward.
- Implement effective policies: Institutions need to develop and enforce policies that promote a safe, inclusive, and respectful work environment. This may involve revising existing policies, creating new ones or adopting best practices from other organizations.
- Foster a supportive community: Encourage open dialogue and foster an atmosphere of support for those who have experienced workplace issues. This can be achieved through regular meetings, mentorship programs, and other resources to help individuals cope and navigate challenging situations.
- Monitor progress and adapt: Regularly review the effectiveness of policies and initiatives in promoting workplace safety, and be prepared to adapt and refine strategies as needed. This may involve conducting follow-up surveys, soliciting
feedback, or analysing trends in reported incidents.
If you have more ideas on how to create inclusive workplace environments for everyone, please leave a comment or reach out to us! The geoscience community has an opportunity to lead by example in creating safe, inclusive work environments. By acknowledging the issues and working together to implement meaningful changes, we can cultivate a space where all geoscientists can thrive, regardless of their background or identity.