Queers in Science is helping tackle discrimination in STEMM


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Queers in Science is helping to build community support for LGBQTIA+ people working in science. 

Studies have shown that LGBTQ people are 17- 21 percent less represented in STEMM fields than expected. 

Additionally, male undergraduates who identify as LGBTQ are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to drop out of STEMM degrees.

Alarmingly, a 2018 study found that LGBTQ people drop out of STEMM degrees at an overall higher rate than women. 

Encompassing people working across science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM), Queers in Science was formed in 2020 to give LGBQTIA+ scientists greater visibility.

In South Australia, the group consists of 14 committee members who meet bi-monthly.

“Our events in the past have included quiz nights, movie nights, panels showcasing the diversity of LGBTQIA+ people in STEMM, and career mentoring sessions,” QiS SA co-chair Perry Beasley-Hall said. 

“Most importantly, we want these events to contribute to building connections within our community and show people they’re not alone.”

Queers in Science has ‘real-world impact’

Dr Beasley-Hall said that Queers in Science was an important initiative, as LGBTQIA+ STEMM students still experience inequality.

“LGBTQIA+ students experience some of the highest rates of assault and misconduct on campus,” she said.

“They are also are more likely to drop out of their programs than their peers.”

LGBTQIA+ people working in STEMM generally have lower job satisfaction and less adequate access to resources.

“Many staff choose not to disclose their sexuality or gender diversity due to the behaviour of colleagues or even consider leaving their jobs due to discrimination,” Dr Beasley-Hall said.

However, the good news is that organistions like Queers in Science have a tangible impact on the lives of LGBTQIA+ students and academics. 

“The struggles LGBTQIA+ people in STEMM face are real and ongoing, but many of these issues can be ameliorated by  representation and visibility,” she said.

“This is why we need LGBTQIA+ STEMM initiatives like Queers in Science – they have a real-world impact!”

For more information, or to find your local chapter visit queersinscience.org.au 

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