This guest post is by Jacqueline Campbell, a member of the Europlanet Diversity Working Group and a PhD Student in the Imaging Group at Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
Following the inception of the Europlanet Diversity Working Group (DWG) after the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in 2017 in Latvia, our newly formed group came up with an abstract on our plans to make planetary science conferences more inclusive. The abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2018 meeting in Liverpool.
There were several sessions and discussions on diversity at EWASS, and lots was said about the additional work women in particular are putting in on top of their research commitments to focus on diversity and inclusivity issues. There were a lot of positive responses from the men in the room, and it was good to hear international panel experts talk about their experiences all over the world. It was pointed out that while it’s a positive thing that there is a lot of focus on sexism, we still have a way to go regarding other forms of discrimination, particularly where they intersect.
I spent some time talking to people at the poster session; ours was the only poster on diversity, and so received a lot of attention from those that had attended the oral diversity sessions. We were fortunate to be able to talk to Member of European Parliament, Claire Moody about our plans.
A very interesting session on Making the case for European astronomy and space science: public and political engagement had some excellent talks and discussion from panel members Terry O’Connor, Nathalie Meusy and Claire Moody on their thoughts on communication between scientists, politicians and the general public.
The following week at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Europlanet had an exhibition stand, where we got to engage with delegates about early career scientist networking opportunities and outreach (Europlanet launched their latest outreach video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8WGlrlVrwY).
It was a great experience to attend so many diversity and outreach sessions; people were very enthusiastic and engaged. My only concern was that those who might gain the most from learning more about diversity and outreach may not attend, and it would be great to see more inclusivity issues in opening sessions and keynote talks where they would reach a wider audience. Nonetheless, it is fantastic to see equality and diversity being promoted at large science gatherings, and I look forward to EPSC 2018 in Berlin, where we will showcase some of the measures we are introducing to make planetary science open to all.
Jacqueline Campbell, April 2018