Advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion: a how-to guide
The numbers confirm that many groups are underrepresented in physics: Data from a recent NSF report demonstrate that among recent PhDs awarded in physics, Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous people, women, and individuals with disabilities are underrepresented by factors of about two to five.11. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, NSF 19-304, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (March 2019). The representation of individuals in physics identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and additional identities (LGBTQIA+) has received less attention, but those groups are certainly underrepresented too.22. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Opening Doors, National Academies Press (2020).,33. T. J. Atherton et al., LGBT Climate in Physics: Building an Inclusive Community, American Physical Society (March 2016). And representation gaps seem set to persist for a long time. To take just one example, currently only 13% of senior authors of articles in physics are women. That number is rising by only 0.1% per year—at that rate, it will take 258 years to come within 5% of gender parity!44. L. Holman, D. Stuart-Fox, C. E. Hauser, PLOS Biol. 16, e2004956 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2004956What factors lead to those disparities in representation? What are the challenges faced by equity-deserving groups? Why should physicists be motivated to effect change? What can physicists do to help the field improve? This article is a call to action for all physicists to work together on concrete and sustained efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI; see the box on page 46) through awareness, collaboration, and engagement.
Advancing EDI in physics.