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The Society of Biology is committed to ensuring equal opportunities in the Life Sciences, and supports diversity throughout the pipeline; at school and higher education, in the workplace and training.

The Society is a signatory of the WISE (formerly UKRC) Chief Executive Officer Charter demonstrating our commitment to women in science, engineering and technology (SET), and sits on the committee of the Athena Forum, which provides strategic oversight of developments to address gender inequality in STEM. The Society is also a core member of the STEM Disability Committee, which supports the inclusion of disabled students and workers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Use the menu on the left to find out more about our work in these areas.

The Society of Biology responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee's inquiry into women in academic STEM careers. We provided evidence on why the numbers of women in STEM academic careers decline further up the career ladder and, when women leave academia, what careers they transition into. We also set out the Society's views on what universities and the higher education sector should do to retain women graduates and PhD students in academic careers and what role the Government should take in encouraging the retention of women in academic STEM careers. Many of our concerns were highlighted in the Committee’s subsequent report, and the Society of Biology was quoted 6 times.  Our full response can be found here. We also produced a news story which details the Society's response to the report.

Parliamentary Links Day 2013 – ‘Science and Diversity’

Parliamentary Links Day is the largest science event on the annual Parliamentary events calendar. It is organised by the Society of Biology on behalf of the science and engineering community to strengthen dialogue with Parliament, and to provide MPs with a more rounded understanding of the scientific issues we face.

The theme of last year’s Links Day, which took place on 25th June, was ‘Science and Diversity’. The objective of the day was to explore both the ways in which the scientific community contribute to the diversity of science and engineering but also the major issues of diversity within science and engineering. The morning session involved brief remarks by the panellists, panel discussions, and then the floor was opened up for Q&A and debate. 

Paul Richards discusses what the Learned Society community are doing to promote equality in STEM in his blog: 'Diverse initiatives to promote diversity in science, engineering and maths: Part 1'.

Diversity within our Member Organisations

The Biochemical Society celebrated 100 years since the first female members joined the society in 2013 with a number of initiatives, including a new ‘Stay Connected’ bursary scheme and series of ‘HighSci’ lectures delivered by female biochemists to school pupils.

The Society of Applied Microbiology now offers additional funds, as part of their conference attendance grants scheme, to cover child care costs that would be required to enable attendance.

The British Pharmacological Society runs a range of diversity initiatives, including a mentoring scheme aimed at early career female researchers and care support bursaries. The BPS has also recently published their new equality and diversity statement.

The Physiological Society ran women in science sessions and launched their new women in physiology booklet at the IUPS conference in Birmingham in July 2013. The Physiological Society is also a member of the STEM Disability Transition Group. 

Diversity at Other Learned Societies

Other learned societies, including the Royal Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Institute of Physics and Royal Academy of Engineering, are working on a wide range of diversity initiatives. The Society of Biology works alongside these organisations through our membership of the Athena Forum and the STEM Disability Committee.

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