To celebrate the 2019 theme for International Women’s Day, #BalanceforBetter, we invited our Editorial Board to nominate and discuss the initiatives they feel support gender balance in science and academia. Kicking things off, several of our editors drew our attention to the directory, DiversifyEEB, which aims to highlight ‘ecologists and evolutionary biologists who are women and/or underrepresented minorities’.

Journal Associate Editor, Cate McInnis-Ng and Senior Editor, Phil Stephens share their thoughts on why DiversifyEBB is such a valuable resource.

diversify-eeb-bgCate:

DiversifyEEB is a database of self-nominated women and underrepresented minorities working in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In this Dynamic Ecology blog about the database, Gina Baucom explains how the list came about. There are over 1500 entries in the searchable database and it is intended to be an intersectional list with a range of diversity options. In a follow-up post, Megan Duffy indicates how journal editors can use a list like DiversifyEEB to build a diverse list of reviewers for a particular paper. It can also be used at any time when a diversity of ideas and contributions is needed, including finding conference speakers, panel members, session chairs and journal editors. Thanks to Gina and Megan for making underrepresented minorities more visible!

Phil:

There is no doubt that there are biases of representation in many fields of science, and applied ecology is no exception. Many processes, from inviting seminar speakers and conference plenaries to spreading the word about upcoming job vacancies, can rely on professional networks that, themselves, reflect the biases of the fields within which they have formed. To break away from those entrenched biases can be difficult. The DiversifyEEB initiative presents a simple but effective way to weaken the positive feedback that perpetuates biases. The directory provides an easy way to search for fresh ideas, and makes it easy to contact scientists outside one’s own immediate network. It would be great to see more registered users, as well as greater use of this neat resource.

Find out about more great initiatives in our Balance for Better series:

Project Biodiversify 

Soapbox Science