Diversity and equity initiatives are an important part of structuring a fair and equitable science research environment, and the benefits of creating this environment are numerous and well documented. A major hurdle faced by research organisations attempting to implement diversity initiatives is finding the space and time to communicate the benefits of diversity and equity interventions.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has introduced the “Diversity Moment” initiative to deliberately create this space and time. Building on the organisation’s existing communication strategy for workplace safety initiatives, the Diversity Moment is a 4-minute speaking slot included in fortnightly All-Staff Meetings to highlight aspects of diversity.
First presented by members of AIMS’ internal equity and diversity working group, a nominated group member communicated a brief story or reflection on a diversity, equity or inclusion topic at a scheduled webinar. This segment provided staff, students and other invited guests opportunities for reflection and consideration on matters beyond the business of scientific research. In parallel, it has established the importance of gender equity, diversity and inclusion matters as being on equal footing with safety in workplace culture.
Staff feedback and internal review identified that sharing the presentation of Diversity Moments with any staff member or student at AIMS had the potential to increase the impact of this initiative. By widening participation, the Diversity Moment has created awareness of a broader range of issues and given more voices the opportunity to offer personal reflections on topics that matter to them with colleagues across all sites.
The Diversity Moment is helping to create an environment where staff and students can freely discuss broader diversity issues, as well as to communicate and educate co-workers on real-world experiences that impact their daily life.
This presentation will share some of the Diversity Moments presented by staff, examples of the feedback received from listeners, and make the case that four minutes per fortnight is an effective tool to embed diversity, inclusion and gender equity matters in a science organisation’s mindset.
- Sharon Barnwell, AIMS
- Patrick Laffy, AIMS