Working towards equality and diversity for all genders in ecology

On International Women’s Day, Rowan Kuminski, co-chair of the EDGE (Equity and Diversity for all Genders in Ecology) Network, explains why work on advancing diversity and inclusion is so important for women – and all genders and intersectional identities – working in ecology.

This International Women’s Day, the EDGE Network celebrates the advancements in diversity and inclusion that have been made in ecology, while recognising the great deal of work that still needs to be done to ensure the field is equitable and safe for people of all genders and intersectional identities.

When we talk about ecology and other branches of STEM, it matters who does this work. It matters who has access to these opportunities, and what systemic barriers exist that prevent people from being able to engage with these fields.

Given that one of the wonders of ecology is the vast diversity of the world around us, it is imperative that we make ecology as accessible as possible and do our best to deconstruct harmful systems in place that exclude people from engaging and succeeding in the field due to their gender.

Tackling gender-based inequalities

EDGE sets out to address these issues in an inclusive way that recognizes and validates the diversity of gender identity and expression and supports all genders in ecology. A core goal of the EDGE Network is to raise awareness about gender-based issues and inequities that still exist in ecology, while also producing tangible methods of making changes within this field.

We plan for the EDGE Network to also work together with other BES networks to approach these issues in an intersectional manner that create practical and effective ways to make our field more inclusive, to the betterment of ecology as a whole.

Rowan Kuminski, co-chair of the EDGE Network

Co-chairing the EDGE Network gives me the opportunity to focus on these issues in ecology, and I look forward to doing so with such an amazing team.

I initially joined the EDGE Network because, as a non-binary early-career researcher, I have already been faced with a great deal of gender-based harassment and discrimination, and have also witnessed this against people of all career stages. This gender-based discrimination has ranged from microaggressions to deliberately discriminatory decisions regarding hiring and salaries.

Despite these occurrences of harassment and discrimination, I was excited to be given the opportunity to co-chair a network that is seriously working to address these issues in our field.

Although I have previously participated in groups that addressed gender-based issues in a broader sense, co-chairing the EDGE Network gives me the opportunity to focus on these issues specifically in ecology and related fields, and I look forward to doing so with such an amazing team of passionate people.

On International Women’s Day, the EDGE Network would like to remind everyone why a group like EDGE is necessary, not only for women, but for all genders, intersectional identities, and for the progress of ecology as a whole. We are excited to work with the BES to contribute to positive changes in this field for current and future ecologists.

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