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RACI inclusion and diversity: a report on progress


Schultz, M and Coote, M and Bissember, A, RACI inclusion and diversity: a report on progress, Chemistry in Australia, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Australia, May/June, pp. 22-25. (2019) [Magazine Article]

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The issue of underrepresentation of women and minority groups in academic fields hit the headlines repeatedly during 2018.

Sexual harassment was repeatedly found to be a factor contributing to this underrepresentation, and this garnered significant media attention in parallel with the #MeToo movement. Many women recounted stories of choosing to leave science in order to avoid their harasser (see, for example, Chem. Eng. News 2017, vol.†95 (37), pp.†28-37 and The RACI has a strong Code of Ethics ( that prohibits sexual harassment by its members.

Separate to the issue of harassment, bias is also known to affect womenís careers (and those of racial minorities) in science. Numerous publications have appeared in the past year providing evidence of this; for example, showing the effects on publication and grant success when names are removed (a useful summary can be found in Grogan†K.E. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2019, vol.†3, pp.†3-6, doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0747-4).

Recognition of underrepresentation has led to a growing focus on introducing programs and initiatives to improve the diversity of representation within science, including chemistry, across the globe (Matlin†S.A. et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, vol.†58, pp.†2912-2913; Mehta†G. et†al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, vol.†57, pp.†14†690-698). To this end, like many professional chemistry organisations, RACI is striving to become a model of good systemic practice by working to improve and modernise its policies and procedures.

In order to improve understanding and awareness within the community about issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion, it is important to provide a robust evidence base. For this reason, the collection and dissemination of quantitative data that reveal the magnitude of ongoing problems and the progress that has been made is critical. In addition, transparency and disclosure provide a measure of accountability.

We are publishing some 2018 RACI data in this article to inform our society about the current status and provide a baseline for future observations. Although the RACI has not yet collected data with respect to race or ethnicity, we have recorded data that provides a snapshot of gender diversity within the context of the RACI, the national awards and conference attendees and speakers. This should be read in the context of the RACI Inclusion and Diversity Strategy available at

Item Details

Item Type:Magazine Article
Keywords:diversity, inclusion, women in chemistry, RACI
Research Division:Chemical Sciences
Research Group:Other chemical sciences
Research Field:Other chemical sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the chemical sciences
UTAS Author:Bissember, A (Associate Professor Alex Bissember)
ID Code:132124
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Chemistry
Deposited On:2019-04-20
Last Modified:2019-04-29

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