Diversity encompasses issues of equity, inclusion, accessibility and intersectionality (the interconnection between gender and racial inequality alongisde other social disadvantages). I’ve created a resource to ensure academic and science events support diversity. Below is a brief version.
Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa: a Suffrage Day Conversation
On Tuesday 19 September, I’m giving a keynote talk on Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa, in honour of Suffrage Day. The event is held at the Royal Society Te Aparangi in Wellington, New Zealand. I’ll talk about how to improve equity, inclusion, access and diversity in research communities. The event is free to the public: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/research-equity-in-new-zealand-aotearoa-a-suffrage-day-conversation-tickets-37440952898
From the event description:
In this Suffrage Day event, Dr Zevallos will reflect on national approaches to improving the hiring, promotion, retention, recognition and participation of all women, specifically including Indigenous and transgender women, as well as other under-represented minorities in science. She will then be joined by panelists for a discussion of the specific needs of the NZ research community.
Panellists include: Prof Anita Brady; Di Tracey; Izzy O’Neill; A/Prof Joanna Kidman; and Prof Richard Blaikie.
The event is co- sponsored by the Dodd-Walls Centre, The MacDiarmid Institute, and Te Pūnaha Matatini.
Light refreshments from 5pm. Come along and say hello!
Royal Society, Gender Equity and Science in Aotearoa New Zealand
Why do academic institutions continue to replicate inequity? The Royal Society Te Apārangi in New Zealand has named their keynote speakers for their 150th Anniversary. All of them are White men. This seems additionally shocking because the organisation has recently rebranded and changed their name and misison to be focused explictly on diversity. This is a great thing! But clearly there’s a disconnect between their mandate and their event planning. Their response has been that the speakers were independently chosen by 10 autonomous branches who each nominated a candidate. They say acknowledge they have some work to do but don’t really give much detail to what this might entail. Perhaps it really is as they say- an unfortunate coincide that all ten panels chose White men? No, actually. What’s happened is not new.Continue reading Royal Society, Gender Equity and Science in Aotearoa New Zealand
Interview: Sociologist at Work
This is the second of a two-part interview with me on Mendeley on 17 May 2017. The following is an excerpt on the positives of working as a research consultant on equity and diversity workplace issues, and the benefits of research to other industries.
We began by asking her: What were the steps involved in transitioning from academic research to being a business owner?
I approached setting up my own business as I would any other activity: I researched it. I read a lot of literature provided by government groups and the business sector. Having done so, I felt I could be a successful consultant.
However, I recognised the gaps in my knowledge about the business side of things, for example, financial obligations and how to market myself to the business sector. To address these issues, I took a training course. I recommend this to anyone who wants to set up a consultancy: get expert support in setting up your business.
In terms of transitioning the research: it took a lot of investment of time, resources and reskilling myself. I learned market research skills, and how to use social media effectively. This was a big leap: researchers are used to simply putting out product, like a journal article, as a deliverable. But when you’re working with business, it’s your advice that’s the end product, and there are many manifestations of that advice. Continue reading Interview: Sociologist at Work
White Supremacy in Sociology
In June 2017 in the USA, a White woman sociology professor was fired for harassing a Black woman student. The student had merely questioned the logic of a quiz question about slavery, but this escalated with the professor challenging the student to present evidence to the class. She did a great job, and the professor retaliated with a series of threats on Facebook. This may seem like an extreme example of racism, but it’s only because the student went public. White educated people, including in sociology, hold an image of themselves that they can’t be racist, even though they reproduce racism in their teaching. I wrote about this at the time, and now reproduce my discussion of the abuse of power by this White educator and the concept of pedagogy in relation to racism.
Interracial Dating: Pushing Past Prejudice
Last week, I was interviewed on triple j radio for the program, The Hook Up. The show explored listeners’ experiences of sexual fetishisation and prejudice in relationships, as well as what it’s like being partned with people from minority backgrounds. A few minority-background callers described feeling reduced to only one facet of their identity due to sexual racism. An Indigenous woman talked about the explicit and implict racism she faces as someone perceived not to look and act like a “typical” Aboriginal woman (despite the diversity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). A woman of Indian background felt no strong cultural connection to India but was often placed in the position of being tokenised because of her heritage. Continue reading Interracial Dating: Pushing Past Prejudice
Gender Equity Among Conference Speakers
Dr Carly Rosewarne was excited about the Environmental and Human Microbiomes conference, hosted by the prestigious publisher, Nature. As a specialist in the field of gastrointestinal research, the global conference was an important scientific event. Dr Rosewarne’s joy was short-lived when she looked at the program: with hardly any women speakers, it was a YAMMM: Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting.
Dr Rosewarne provides an analogy about the importance of diversity in her field of study, which is not reflected in the conference practices in her discipline. She writes:
“Improving gender representation on invited speaker panels at scientific conferences is not difficult. The most effective method is to use guidelines that specify a minimum target threshold, most preferably for each session but at least across the whole event. In the microbiome field there are no reasons why this is impractical since there is no shortage of highly qualified women who would be delighted to be asked! Additional consideration may be required in order to provide extra support (financial or otherwise) to those who have caring responsibilities. If diversity is also present amongst the organising committee these needs will be more readily identified.”
Dr Rosewarne has decided not to attend the conference in protest and urges other prominent scientists to speak up on gender inequality and to boycott YAMMM events to amplify the message
STEM Women in Astrophysics: Professor Vera Rubin, ‘Ardent Feminist’
Astrophysicist Professor Vera Rubin, USA National Medal of Science awardee who confirmed the existence of dark matter, died on 25 December 2016.
One of the things I want to highlight especially for this post is the wonderful job Professor Rubin’s institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, did in their press release. They focus on Rubin’s scientific discovery using plain language, but they were bold in also highlighting her gender equity work in science, by calling her an “ardent feminist”. This is so important because women’s advocacy for gender equity is scientific work that is unpaid; it is undertaken on top of research, teaching, and grant work; and goes largely unacknowledged.
This post is dedicated to Professor Rubin’s legacy and all the other ardent feminists in science and elsewhere. Continue reading STEM Women in Astrophysics: Professor Vera Rubin, ‘Ardent Feminist’
Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything
A Japanese artist who started off doing street performance art, Tatsuo Miyajima sees his installations as performance objects, as he sees that art can only fulfill its function if it is viewed by the audience. His art has much overlap with sociology, especially social constructionism.
This exhibition showcases Miyajima’s work with counting devices made of Light Emitting Diode (LED), as symbolism for time, life and social connectedness. Continue reading Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything
Why the Middle Class Misunderstands Inequality
This year, Australia has endured yet another rise of racist public discourses about refugees taking away jobs from “Australians.” But given that refugees who resettle in Australia are, in fact, Australian, which Australians are being evoked in this argument and why? In May 2016, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said of refugees:
“For many people, they won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English, and this is a difficulty. These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that, and for many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it.”
These comments are not factual – half of all refugees speak English and three quarters have at least a high school education. It is well documented that refugees and their children make a strong economic contribution to the Australian economy. Refugees do not ‘take jobs away’ from other Australians – this perception is founded in the historical racist rhetoric that underpinned Australia’s immigration policies since Federation. Refugees, especially the children of those from non-English speaking countries such as Viet Nam, are more socially mobile than third-generation Australians. That means that, even if their parents arrive in Australia as working class, the second-generation joins the middle class. But this does not push Anglo-Australians out of the middle class. So why this misinterpretation? Continue reading Why the Middle Class Misunderstands Inequality