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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at the Geological Society

In late 2014, the Society signed up to the Science Council Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, committing us to promoting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion within the geoscience community.

Since then we have

  • Appointed a board level diversity champion, currently Dr Michael Kehinde.
  • Introduced, and continue to build on, our EDI activities.
  • Worked closely with other societies and bodies within the science and engineering community.
  • Introduced our EDI survey to better understand the demographics of our c.12,000 members.

Our survey asks Fellows and Candidate Fellows about a range of EDI characteristics including: their sex, gender, disability, ethnicity, religion etc.

Since its launch, over 2,000 Fellows submitted their details – a sample size large enough to provide some insight into the characteristics of our members.

With this in mind, George Jameson, our Diversity and Inclusion Project Lead, shares some highlights from the data collected.

Gender

The split stands at 68.5% and 31.5% for men and women, respectively. However, when we look a little closer by introducing age brackets, we notice that the difference is smaller among younger members whereas women above the age of 50 only account for 5% of the Fellowship.

Ethnicity

There is over-representation of White people within our fellowship – 91.4% compared to 86.0% within the general UK population. White men account for 62.4% of Fellows and White people represent the overwhelming majority within each age bracket.

FemaleMale
Asian1.0%2.7%
Black0.8%1.2%
Mixed0.6%1.2%
Other0.1%0.3%
Unknown0.1%0.5%
White28.9%62.4%

Religion

Almost a third (59.7%) of Fellows report having no religion and just 4.3% report having an ‘other’ religion. Other religions were grouped due to small numbers but they included Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or Sikh.

For women under 50, the majority report having no religion, with Christian second largest. This trend inverts with Fellows aged 51 + with Christian now the largest cohort and no religion the second largest.  

With males we see the same trend as with the 20-50 female age brackets, although we don’t see the trend invert when we move beyond 50. No religion remains the majority throughout all age brackets with Christian the second largest.

Disability

It is worth noting that 88% of respondents reported having no disability, meaning that 12% have a disability or long standing health issue.

It’s estimated that 18% of the UK working population have some form of disability as defined in the Equality Act 2010. This puts the geoscience community 6 percentage points below the UK average. The likely scenario here is that this reflects the barriers people with disabilities face when entering study and the workplace. This highlights the work that must be done to improve accessibility for everyone interested in the geosciences.

I’m sure the information presented here hasn’t highlighted anything we don’t already know. However, it may help to spark the conversation around equality, diversity and inclusion. If you’d like to get in touch with us to discuss anything about this blog post please email: diversity@geolsoc.org.uk.

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