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Addressing underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people in STEM disciplines

Speaking at Wilton Park Jon Freeman, associate professor of psychology and social neuroscientist at Columbia University, explains why collecting data is vital to helping address underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people in STEM disciplines.

LGBTQ+ minorities are under-represented in STEM disciplines in both the US and the UK. In both countries, however, policymakers are struggling to design evidence-based interventions to address this problem. Often, this is because there is very little data collected on this minority population, which prevents policymakers from targeting interventions. Policymakers cannot focus efforts on a particular discipline or on a particular timepoint in a research career trajectory.

At a recent event we brought together experts to to further understand and address under-representation of LGBTQ+ people in STEM. Discussion explored what data is currently collected, gaps in existing data and ways in which to overcome barriers to future data collection.

The dialogue was a key milestone toward collaboration on data sharing and the establishment of a US-UK repository of datasets for researcher access, establishing a UK-US community of experts working together on DEI in STEM and drafting a UK-US open-source policy guide for universities.  The event also supported the launch of new bilateral funding for research into LGBTQ attrition and retention in STEM.

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