Pride Month: Diversity in Physics

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Friday, June 16, 2017


Jacob Robertson

This past weekend, The Optical Society (OSA) invited the SPS interns to celebrate pride month at their offices. After mingling with OSA's staff on the patio, we relocated to the street to watch the parade. This was the first pride event for many of the interns, including myself, and the invitation speaks to how professional societies drive diversity and inclusion initiatives in science. 

A 2016 report from the American Physical Society found that 40% of LGBT physicists reported experiencing "exclusionary behavior [in the workplace] due to gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual identity." This figure increased by 10-20% for transgendered physicists. 

In addition to the benefits of diverse perspectives in a problem-solving driven field like physics, inclusion makes science more effective. Since there is a positive correlation between job satisfaction and workplace productivity, it is in the interest of labs and universities to address the exclusionary behavior that LGBT physicists experience. Science is driven by people, and those people must be safe and comfortable to do the best science.

Thankfully, professional societies like APS, SPS, and OSA advocate for inclusion and provide resources and support to their members. 

Jacob Robertson