Celebrating LGBTQIA+ STEM Day
Pride in STEM Day on November 18th is a moment in time to celebrate the work and achievements of LGBTQIA+ people within STEM-related jobs, and highlight the barriers still faced by this community.
The date is symbolic of the 60th anniversary of American Astronomer and gay activist Frank Kameny’s US Supreme Court fight against workplace discrimination. Regrettably discrimination continues all over the world in many forms. Pride in STEM day is a chance to celebrate diversity.
Diversity in STEM isn’t just about ticking boxes or meeting quotas; it’s about fostering an environment where everyone can contribute their unique perspectives, experiences, and talents.
Research has shown that more diverse teams are more likely to be innovative and make scientific and technological breakthroughs. When individuals from different backgrounds collaborate, they bring a variety of viewpoints to the table. This mixture of thoughts often leads to creative problem-solving and ground-breaking discoveries.
Did you know? 28% of LGBTQIA+ people have at some point considered leaving their jobs because of a hostile workplace, or discrimination towards them. There is still a lack of understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community, leading to limited support in the workplace.
That’s why LGBTQIA+ STEM Day is so important.
- Visibility and Representation: It highlights the achievements of those within this community and in STEM careers. This visibility may help to inspire young LGBTQIA+ individuals considering a career in STEM.
- Breaking Barriers: Discrimination and bias can be significant barriers to career advancement for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
- Building Support Networks: Helping to foster connections within the community, providing a platform to share experiences and offer support.
- Education and Advocacy: Helping the broader public understand about the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals and to advocate for change.
“I’m fortunate that the only LGBTQIA+ challenge I have faced in my career is the continual ‘coming out’ to new people. I know others are not so fortunate. At Perfectly Fresh, our whole business is STEM based. With our Values & Behaviours and supporting policies, we are building a business where everyone can thrive, with a sense of belonging and recognition for their unique contribution” – Simon Allison, Chief of Staff
STEM in the Real World
STEM fields aim to solve real-world problems, and to do so effectively the people working within these fields should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. It ensures that solutions are relevant, equitable and inclusive.
Furthermore, encouraging diversity in STEM careers is an essential step toward a more equal society. It sends a powerful message that anyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, can pursue a rewarding and impactful career in these fields.
To truly advance with innovation, we must ensure that STEM is a welcoming space for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. By doing so, we not only promote equality but also harness the full potential of diverse perspectives to address complex challenges.