An open letter from women of science:
Science is foundational in a progressive society, fuels innovation, and touches the lives of every person on this planet. The anti-knowledge and anti-science sentiments expressed repeatedly during the U.S. presidential election threaten the very foundations of our society. Our work as scientists and our values as human beings are under attack. We fear that the scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time.
In this new era of anti-science and misinformation, we as women scientists re-affirm our commitment to build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise. We reject the hateful rhetoric that was given a voice during the U.S. presidential election and which targeted minority groups, women, LBGTQIA, immigrants, and people with disabilities, and attempted to discredit the role of science in our society. Many of us feel personally threatened by this divisive and destructive rhetoric and have turned to each other for understanding, strength, and a path forward. We are members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. We are immigrants. We are people with disabilities. We are LBGTQIA. We are scientists. We are women.
Across the globe, women in science face discrimination, unequal pay, and reduced opportunities. Our work to overcome the longer-term degradation of the role science plays in society did not start with this election, but this election has re-ignited our efforts. As women scientists, we are in the position to take action to increase diversity in science and other disciplines. We resolve to continue our pursuits with renewed passion and to find innovative solutions to the problems we face in the U.S. and abroad. Together, we pledge to:
- Identify and acknowledge structural inequalities and biases that affect the potential of every person to fulfill their goals;
- Push for equality and stand up to inequality, discrimination, and aggression;
- Push to strengthen the support for traditionally under-represented groups to fully participate in and become leaders in science;
- Support the education and careers of all scientists;
- Step outside of our research disciplines to communicate our science and engage with the public;
- Use every day as an opportunity to demonstrate to young girls and women that they are welcome and needed in science;
- Set examples through mentorship and through fostering an atmosphere of encouragement and collaboration, not one of divisiveness;
- Use the language of science to bridge the divides that separate societies and to enhance global diplomacy.
Today, we invite the women in science and our colleagues to declare our support to each other and to all minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LBGTQIA. Our scientific work may be global, yet we will take action in our own communities and we will work towards an inclusive society, where science and knowledge can be embraced and everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.