Diversity and inclusion
In 2015 The Physiological Society celebrated the centenary of our first female Member being elected. We marked this by strengthening our commitment to a fully inclusive membership. In September 2018 we welcomed our first female President, Professor Bridget Lumb, who is committed to overseeing the continued improvement in diversity and inclusion within The Society.
True diversity requires fair representation of all communities. Our aim is to remove any barriers that restrict physiologists from joining and participating in Society activities. Since 2006 we have asked Members, and others interacting with The Society, to complete an equal opportunities form that provides valuable information to help us identify under representation and, as a result, consider any barriers that may be contributing to this. Our past President, Professor David Eisner, wrote a piece in our Members’ magazine, Physiology News (Issue 110, page 6) which highlights the importance of sharing your information.
The Physiological Society gives a platform to the next generation of female senior scientists. In early 2018 we introduced a minimum expectation of 33% female representation in all our scientific meetings. We are working towards a target of 50%. We know that women are under-represented in the most senior scientific roles. In order to address this, we are acting to rebalance the equilibrium of speakers at our events by casting a wider net and looking outside immediate scientific circles. In 2014-2018 all our scientific meetings met the minimum expectation for female representation.
It’s important to us to support the progression of early career physiologists and remove obstacles that might otherwise limit their progression to the most senior scientific roles. In 2017 our Affiliate Working Group was formed and is represented on each of The Society’s advisory committees. This ensures that the voice of the next generation is part of every discussion. This working group was behind the popular Future Physiology conference that took place in December 2017. We plan to make this an annual event.
Keeping diversity and inclusion on the agenda
The Society’s drive to support diversity and inclusion extends to all areas of activity. To achieve this we established a network of individuals that take the lead for their professional areas of activity. This staff group meets each quarter to discuss relevant progress. It is also a regular topic of discussion by The Society’s Board of Trustees. Our Diversity Champions are Sue Deuchars and Rachel Tribe.
Support mechanisms at The Society
In order to ensure our activities are inclusive we have established a Carer’s Fund to support members with caring responsibilities, as well as those that need carers. The grants are intended to offset the cost of the attendee’s care arrangements for any meeting or workshop that we organise.
We believe facilitating positive relationships is the best way to support your career progression. Mentors help The Society to support the development of physiologists and the discipline of physiology. Mentees benefit from the shared experiences of another physiologist without judgement or expectation.
We have funded access to some online resources to help support the mental wellbeing of our Members and the wider scientific. To gain access to a particular resource please email Chrissy Stokes, Head of Professional Development and Engagement.
Other useful links
- Animation on Unconscious Bias The Royal Society: The key concepts and academic research around unconscious bias
- Crossing Boundaries: Encouraging Diversity Margaret Ann Armour: A keynote session looking at diversity in academia and publishing
- Gender and Funding – is there a problem? The Physiological Society: A discussion hosted by The Society to investigate links between gender and funding success
- Making a case for diversity and inclusion McKinsey & Company: 2015 research makes the case that companies with a more diverse workforce perform better financially