Help the IBMS become more inclusive
As part of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week 2022, I'm helping the IBMS to launch an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and we need a diverse range of members to lead the group and help the project to thrive.
When I was elected as a national council member in June 2021, I was asked what I hoped to bring to the IBMS during my term. I explained that I felt my appointment was a valuable opportunity to contribute towards the representation of all communities and that I wanted to help the full diversity of voices in the profession. My position was well received and it was clear to me that the IBMS valued the differences of its members. I hope to strengthen this by leading our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. However, to make a real success of it, I will need some of our members to come forward…
As a female coming from an Asian culture, I always struggled to come forward when it came to new opportunities. My parents made sure I was well-educated and my family have always been fully supportive, but a female with a career in our culture was unheard of. Even with support, I held back from exploring new ventures because I felt like I didn’t belong. It has taken a long time for me to realise that things have changed, and I want to help empower the people who might not have had quite as much support as I had to also enact positive change in their careers.
I think we can do more as a professional body and a profession to ensure everyone feels like their differences are respected, appreciated and celebrated and that their contributions are valued, no matter what their background or identity is. It is vital that we nurture an inclusive environment where every member feels welcome, championed and given the tools to thrive; that is how we can reap the benefits of a diverse workforce and bring new perspectives and experiences to our profession. Fostering a culture of embracing differences and appreciating diversity will create new opportunities, approaches and ideas.
The IBMS have been working with the Science Council to benchmark their performance on diversity and inclusion. The Progression Framework being used was developed in collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council with the aim of helping professional bodies to track and plan their progress on diversity and inclusion. As part of the project, the IBMS has received two reports that provide feedback on strengths, areas for development and recommendations for action. The benchmarking reports from 2017 and 2021 are available here. I think the framework sets some valuable standards and that the reports make it clear that there is still some work to be done.
One of the strengths that was highlighted as a result of the benchmarking exercise is that the IBMS are networking with stakeholders on diversity and inclusion issues and that we are gaining confidence in communicating our commitment to diversity and inclusion externally. With that in mind, we are launching the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group which aims to improve the IBMS position in relation to diversity and inclusion; and specifically improve the scores for the Science Council Benchmarking Framework.
I’d like to ask members to take part in this project. It is an opportunity to share your ideas on how we can break down barriers, promote diversity in valuable ways and successfully champion the diversity of our members to create an inclusive team-working ethos.
If you don’t feel you would be comfortable working in the group, or simply don’t have the time, please look out for the membership surveys that will appear in your inboxes. It’s so important that we hear back from the full range of the membership.
IBMS strategy states that we ‘respect and value the diverse backgrounds, experiences, approaches and ideas of all individuals’ and that we should have ‘diversity and inclusivity at the heart of what we do.’ I think this is true – and if we pull together and work towards a more equal and inclusive future we can spread this respect and value deeper into the profession.
Express your interest by 20th May 2022
As we are looking for a diverse range of members to lead the group, we would appreciate if you could outline how you represent diversity within the profession in your approach. In order to be shortlisted for the project, you'll need to submit a short supporting statement to our Membership Committee (MC@ibms.org) which demonstrates the following:
- a commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion
- good communication and team working skills
- cultural sensitivity
- self-motivation and an ability to use initiative
- organisational skills
- flexibility and the ability to work across all levels and meet changing requirements
- ability to identify gaps and propose improvements/solutions