Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at ESA
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) began its journey to create a more inclusive society in 1989. The journey continues today. While we have made progress, we are aware of the continuing challenges we face. ESA recognizes that a thoughtful strategic plan—with qualitative and quantitative markers, transparency, accountability, and a long-term commitment—is required to reach our DEI goals.
For ESA, DEI is a call-to-action that requires short-term improvements and long-term strategic planning conducted by the Society’s Governing Board. ESA’s board and staff have led and embraced the Society’s commitment to DEI and have been engaging in a yearlong strategic planning process in 2021. In addition, ESA hired a full-time staff professional in 2020 focused on DEI within the Society and entomological community. But these actions are only just the beginning.
For ESA, diversity requires that we recognize the multiple identities of our members, entomologists, scientists, and the people and communities who engage with insect science. ESA began asking members to describe their race and gender in 2011. In 2021, we are modifying the options in these categories to better encompass the ways our members describe their race, gender, and sexuality and to ensure we serve all our members and other communities.
Equity requires that all individuals be able to participate in entomology and STEM based on passion, interest, and ability. ESA recognizes that individuals who identify as women, Hispanic, black African, and Native American are underrepresented in entomology when compared to the general population in the United States. Full participation in STEM-related professions has been suppressed for many by structural barriers and explicit racism and sexism. Collective action is a necessity for systemic change, and a scientific society sits in a unique position to bring people together and guide that collective action.
Inclusion is ESA’s practice of creating a sense of belonging and support in our community. Practically, ESA must ensure its leadership, awards, honors, scientific symposia, and other programming recognize the valuable contributions of members and entomologists from all communities. Here are some highlights of ESA’smany activities to create an inclusive community:
Making sure all ESA content in the form of competitions, publications, symposia, webinars, and other programming reflects the age, gender, sexual, racial, and ethnic diversity of the membership.
Recognizing the contributions from all ESA communities and honoring those dedicated to building a more diverse and inclusive profession.
Membership opportunities for students and scientists in underrepresented groups through a partnership with EntoPOC and via other membership drives.
Mentorship opportunities for students and early career professionals who are members of underrepresented groups, to improve access to the connections that will give them the insight to succeed.
The Better Common Names Project, an effort to ensure that insect common names do not perpetuate negative ethnic or racial stereotypes.