The Rest of You Can Go Next

A yellow sign with a black arrow points to the right. It is hung on a wooden fence, with three plants of variable height in the forefront

On 6 February, I presented at the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA) Conference. My paper was titled, ‘The Rest of You Can Go Next: Using Intersectionality in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Programs.’ The distinguished keynote was delivered by Professor Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought, and, along with Sirma Bilge, co-author of Intersectionality. It was a wonderful conference. I felt good about my paper. My summary of the event will be on my blog soon.

In the meantime, here is my abstract:

This paper addresses the racial silences that women of colour navigate when developing and managing equity, diversity and inclusion programs. I draw on a critical autobiography of memory and trauma (Thompson and Tyagi 1996), analysing the impact of my career on my life as a woman of colour. Of my two-decades working as a sociologist, I’ve spent 14 years employed across public service, not-for-profit, and consultancy contexts. I reflect on the evolution of managerialism, which is increasingly eager to be seen as responsive to intersectionality, whilst remaining hostile to anti-racism (Ahmed 2017). I outline the barriers, negotiation and resistance strategies used when delivering public programs intended to serve marginalised communities, whilst simultaneously challenging racism, sexism and other workplace discrimination. I show how intersectionality is deployed in corporate branding, and the impact of diluting the race component of intersectionality from ‘equity, diversity and inclusion’ programs. Intersectionality provides a critical framework for exploring how race and gender simultaneously impact legal, economic and other institutional outcomes (Crenshaw 1989). These dynamics are disparately experienced by Aboriginal women and femmes, other Black people, and other migrants (Bottomley, de Lepervanche and Martin 1991; Collins and Bilge 2016; Moreton-Robinson 2000). Here, I focus on the racial, gendered and mental health costs of delivering social change.

I hope to finalise a peer reviewed paper on this soon, and then we can expect the usual glacial delay on a forthcoming publication. Until then, I’m getting ready to publish a resource about evidence-based actions institutions can take using intersectionality, to improve equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Keep an eye on my blog, The Other Sociologist, for this over the coming days.

Event: Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa

Title of event on top banner against blue background reads: Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa. Smaller yellow banner with time and address details. Lower half shows large photo of Zuleyka Zevallos on the left and logos of hosts The NZ Association of Scientists, and logos of sponsors: Dodd-Walls Centre; The MacDiarmid Institute; Te Punaha Matatini

On Tuesday, I’m giving a keynote talk for Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa: A Suffrage Day Conversation. The event is held at the Royal Society Te Aparangi in Wellington, New Zealand, on 19 September 2017. I’ll talk about how to improve equity and increase diversity in research communities. The event is free to the public. Light refreshments from 5pm. Come along and say hello!

From the event description:

In this Suffrage Day event, Dr Zevallos will reflect on national approaches to improving the hiring, promotion, retention, recognition and participation of all women, specifically including Indigenous and transgender women, as well as other under-represented minorities in science. She will then be joined by panelists for a discussion of the specific needs of the NZ research community.

Dr Zuleyka Zevallos will then be joined by the following panelists (full panel TBC) for a discussion of the specific needs of the NZ research community. Audience questions will also be taken.

  • Chair: Craig Stevens, President of the NZ Association of Scientists
  • Anita Brady, Associate Dean (Teaching and Equity), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington; Queer and Gender Area Chair, Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • Di Tracey, Fisheries Scientist, the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA); Women’s Network Coordinator for NIWA
  • Izzy O’Neill, National Coordinator – Thursdays in Black, NZUSA ­The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations; Researcher of the tertiary student (especially LGBTQIA) experience of sexual violence.
  • Joanna Kidman, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa; Associate Professor, Kaihautū, Te Kura Māori, Victoria University of Wellington, and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Researcher.
  • Richard Blaikie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, The University of Otago, and Vice-President (Physical Sciences) the Royal Society Te Apārangi

Book your FREE ticket.

Details
Tuesday, 19 September, 2017
5:00pm-7:00pm
Royal Society of New Zealand
11 Turnbull St
Wellington, New Zealand.

The event is hosted by The New Zealand Association of Scientists. The event is co-sponsored by the Dodd-Walls Centre, The MacDiarmid Institute, and Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Better Leadership through Diversity: A Case Study of the March for Science

My latest article is now on The Humanist (first published 08 May 2017). Below is an excerpt.

The best way to redress the inequities in science is through structural reform. This means reviewing policy through an evidence-based process. A more productive approach to diversity focuses on responsibilities of leaders to enhance measurable results. In other words, for science to make the most of everyone’s talents, leaders must “walk the talk,” modelling best practice and promoting accountability for themselves and other managers.

A vision for social change that eliminates existing inequalities must incorporate the leadership, professional expertise, and lived experiences of minorities from diverse backgrounds. Without decision-making power to shape the strategy and planning of any event, program, or organization, minorities remain on the margins. Subsequently, lacking the active representation of humanity, the full benefits of science and social justice endeavors will be limited in influence and impact.

Read more on The Humanist.

Crowd listens to speeches at the March for Science in Sydney
Science will never reach its full potential if large segments of the population are locked out from participating in, and shaping, its future.

Making the Most of Diversity Lessons from March for Science Australia

March for Science protesters at Martins Place, Sydney

My latest article is now on Women’s Policy Action Tank (first published 24 April 2017). Below is an excerpt.

Over the weekend, thousands participated in the March for Science, both in Australia and globally. Influenced by the Women’s March, the March for Science has struggled with reflecting the highly diverse scientific community. In today’s post, sociologist Zuleyka Zevallosprovides a brief history of the controversies, explains why diversity in science is important, and provides practical suggestions for moving forward on stronger footing. 

The issues for the global March for Science, as well as the national marches in Australia, are fundamental to issues of diversity in STEM around the world. The march is a microcosm of the battle to create a more inclusive culture in STEM that truly values and promotes diversity.

We start with the backwards logic. The march began without diversity in mind. The diversity statements by the global march came only after various mistakes and in response to critique from underrepresented scientists. Locally, there is no publicised diversity statement in the first instance, let alone a detailed strategy for equity, inclusion and access.

Extensive, longitudinal research shows that diversity statements and policies alone do not lead to greater diversity in the workplace. In fact, individual programs, whether it’s mentoring women or one-off training, do little to advance (only some) White women’s individual careers, and many programs have little effect on women of colour and other minorities. This is because programs are designed to “fix” individuals, without committing to changing the system.

Diversity is effective, and pays dividends in productivity, where equity, inclusion and accessibility are at the core of leadership and organisational practice. For an organisation to realise the full potential of diversity, leaders must not only model behavioural changes, but also lead proactive planning, evaluation and targeted solutions to transform their workplace culture. Superimposing a diversity statement on the existing structure allows only a few individuals to succeed while White men’s dominance remains unperturbed.

Diversity is just one of many important STEM issues in Australia, and one that should not take a backseat role to other pressing science issues. In fact, diversity undercuts all STEM policy matters. For example, Indigenous science is vital to addressing climate change and developing sustainable practices, as well as being indispensable to health initiatives, technology R&D, and other STEM ventures. Scientific potential will never be met unless Indigenous Australians lead STEM programs and activities, moving away from a deficit model to one of self-determination and empowerment in STEM. This includes activities like the March for Science. Imagine how an event that aspires to be a critical moment of change in STEM would have looked like with 60,000 years of ATSI wisdom leading its strategy!

Read more on Women’s Policy Action Tank.

March for Science crowd at Martins Place Sydney
Diversity is a quintessential tool in science