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IBIS – international journal of ornithology

Equality | Diversity | Inclusiveness

The BOU is committed to diversity in ornithology. We aim to help overcome barriers preventing equality for ornithologists and all our activities are open to anyone interested in ornithology regardless of, but not limited to, nationality, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality and socio-economic status.

We are fulfilling this commitment via our recently formed Equality and Diversity Working Group and prioritising three key actions:

  • we have set targets of achieving a 50:50 male-to-female ratio in short lists for awards by 2020, and a 50:50 male-to-female ratio on Council and committees by 2022 (extra two years to allow more turnover during our Council and committees’ respective rotation terms). Gender targets require care, but we believe they’re essential to measure progress towards our commitments;
  • understanding how the BOU is performing now will establish a baseline from which we can monitor our progress. We are gathering data on the gender balance of the BOU Council and all committees, plus the keynote/plenary speakers and session chairs at our conferences;
  • we are working to improve diversity and gender equality amongst nominees for awards, and increasing the transparency of the awarding process overall. Although awards are based on scientific merit, we are exploring approaches to ensure they are more inclusive, particularly at the short-listing stage.

Some of the ways we’ve been delivering on equality, diversity and inclusiveness include:

  • switching to double-blind review for our journal, IBIS;
  • blind reviewing abstracts for presentation at our conferences;
  • all staff, Council and committee members are now undertaking annual unconscious bias awareness training;
  • using a gender-decoder to ensure key texts are not overtly gender-biased;
  • raising the awareness of equality, diversity and inclusiveness within our community in our online and face-to-face events;
  • asking our community about the issues important to them which we need to address.

The BOU recognises that equality and diversity is about a great deal more than gender equality. Ornithology has a very diverse global community but this is not always reflected within the discipline at national scales. We would like to see diversity improved across the discipline and at all levels. We are focusing on gender for the time being because these data are more easily gathered, there are a number of approaches to address gender imbalance, and many of the measures we take will benefit a range of other groups.

At our 2019 AGM, Rosie Trevalyan (Director of the Tropical Biology Association) was elected to BOU Council as our specialist equality and diversity Council member; Rosie was named as the Equality and Diversity Champion (2018) by the British Ecological Society.

Simple initiatives, such as seeking suggestions from conference delegates on equality, diversity and inclusiveness issues, are yielding some fantastic feedback and raising new issues for us to tackle which will benefit our community.
Equality, diversity and the BOU Juliet Vickery’s blog post (June 2019).
Equality and Diversity in the BOU Helen Baker’s blog post (January 2018).

Equality and Diversity Working Group
Juliet Vickery (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science), (Chair), BOU Vice President
Steve Dudley, BOU Chief Operations Officer
Jenny Dunn (University of Lincoln), Engagement Committee member
Rosie Trevelyan (University of Cambridge), BOU Council Member
Leila Walker (Taylor & Francis)
Hugh Wright, Chair, BOU Engagement Committee

Other contacts:
Helen Baker, Honorary Secretary
Angela Langford, BOU Office Manager

Twitter profile images of presenters taking part in #BOU17TC

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