Re-cap: Quietly advocating for diversity.

Last week, #DiversityJC discussed the topic of Quietly advocating for diversity vs. other methods for achieving diversity in STEM.

The inspiration was Isis Anchalee’s #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag that exists because her company used her and a few of her colleagues in a recruiting ad for her company, but really only took issue with her, for some reason.

The ads seem to want to highlight that the team is diverse that works there, at least a little bit, sort of a quiet, not commented on selling point for the company, for those that would care to notice. It obviously turned a lot louder.

And most of the DiversityJC participants seemed to agree that really calling out diversity issues is a better way forward, to actually making progress, at least forcing the issue of institutions to examine how they operate, to root out implicit biases.

The discussion was a good one and I’ve highlighted several tweeted responses to our questions below. You can look through the whole discussion as well on Twitter.

We had a series of 5 questions:

Is there such a thing as Quiet advocacy for Diversity? Is just being in the industry and just passively observed, OK?

Does showing STEM workers all look different help improve diversity? Or is it a neutral backdrop to other steps?

What strategies work best for you when talking about diversity? Direct? Quiet?

What situations/scenarios call for quieter activism vs. the louder-speak-up/protest activism?

What are some things that can be done to ensure that education/STEM training lead to resilient & robust careers for underrepresented groups?

The consensus seemed to be that visibility, whether quiet or loud is important, but not fully sufficient to most effectively advocate for diversity. And of course, it takes all types. One type of advocacy may resonate more with someone trying to teach someone else about diversity or someone trying to learn about it. It is about matching communication styles to some extent.

And sometimes, just quietly building diversity into the core of your institution may be a good strategy. Before anyone realizes, the culture really has changed.

However, loudly advocating may be essential to put pressure on institutions (and individuals) to see a new point of view and start to incorporate diversity.

One last thing:

For another example of a great combination of quiet and loudly advocating for diversity, this episode of The Story Collider in the link is really good:

See you at the next #DiversityJC!

Ian Street

Emily S. Klein

Doctor PMS


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