November 18 is International Day of LGBTQIA+ People in STEM.
What’s this day all about? Well, research shows that LGBTQIA+ people struggle to openly be themselves in their workplaces, have lower retention rates in STEM, and are more likely to withdraw from uni. According to QueersInScience, to combat this we need greater visibility of LGBTQIA+ professionals in STEM, and more support for policies, management guidance and career resources tailored to the needs of LGBTQIA+ employees.
Promoting and celebrating diversity in the STEM workplace is crucial and also beneficial. The Diversity Council of Australia found that out LGBTQIA+ employees are 50% more likely to be innovative, and 35% more likely to work highly effectively in their teams.
To shine a light on the amazing and important work LGBTQIA+ people in STEM are doing, as well as acknowledge the struggles they’ve faced, we’ve rounded up a bunch of reads and resources below.
Q&A with Lauren Esposito of 500 Queer Scientists
We spoke to Lauren Esposito, arachnologist and creator of 500 Queer Scientists – a visibility campaign for LGBTQIA+ people and their allies working in STEM – about the highlights and challenges of her STEM journey! Read the Q&A here.
8 LGBTQ+ role models in STEM you should know
The best gift we can give young people is empowering them to be themselves. Honored to join forces with @RyanQualtrics and @DanReynolds to support the great work @encircle2gether does serving LGBTQ+ youth. Thanks @RobinRoberts for a wonderful conversation. https://t.co/6pigYU8XDE https://t.co/FFIdxFgkXA
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 25, 2021
From astronauts and mathematicians to electrical engineers and computer scientists, meet eight LGBTQIA+ role models in STEM who have made a difference through their incredible work. Read more about their inspiring stories here.
The importance of keeping science inclusive
In everything we do as humans, diversity of perspective is vital to help facilitate understanding – research has shown that diverse teams are more likely to make scientific breakthroughs – and there’s a lot that we need to do to ensure equity of queer and sexual minority representation in science.
In this article, we look at five ways to smash heteronormative STEM stereotypes, and hear the study and career path of a transgender scientist who is an advocate for diversity in STEM.
All the resources
Be sure to check out…
- Pride in STEM: this is run by a group of LGBTQIA+ scientists and engineers from around the world who showcase and support all LGBTQIA+ people in STEM fields. They are the founders of International Day of LGBTQIA+ People in STEM, and provide stacks of useful links about LGBTQIA+ people in STEM on their website.
- 500 Queer Scientists: through this visibility campaign, you can read over 1,591 inspiring stories from LGBTQIA+ role models in science.
- Out Astronaut: this project addresses the under-representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in science and space.
- LGBTQ in Technology Slack: a space for LGBTQIA+ people in technology to chat and support each other.
- A list of companies that champion LGBTQIA+ equality: this includes big names like PayPal, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and EY.
- 7 myths about coming out at work: challenges myths that are drawn from common assumptions about coming out and offers suggestions to organisations that want to help their workers feel safe being themselves.
Head along to the LGBTQIA+ STEMM Symposium
Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador, will be there to talk all things workplace culture, practical inclusion, and Pride networks and their role in workplace. You’ll also hear from Ruth McNair AM, an Honorary Associate Professor at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne and a general practitioner and founding director of an inner-Melbourne general practice. She will present on building resilience and balancing being authentic but also safe in the workplace.
Then you can get involved in an interactive session in Gathertown, where you can roam and network with QueersInScience members and listen to lightning talks showcasing the brilliant work being done by LGBTQIA+ scientists across a breadth of STEMM disciplines.
It’s free to attend but be sure to register before November 18.
Want more? Find out why we should all have pride in STEM.
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.