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On 20 July 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) published the ‘Equity in the STEM workforce’ report following an eight-month inquiry. ARCS are proud to have been one of 18 sponsors who supported the British Science Association to help fund the costs of running the report. You can see the full report here and these are the report’s key recommendations:

1. The UK Government and STEM organisations, across the private, public and voluntary sectors should commit to leading a ‘STEM Diversity Decade of Action’ to tackle the historic and systemic underrepresentation of minoritised groups at all levels in the sector.

a) The Prime Minister and UK Government should set a bold vision for a diverse and equitable STEM sector at the heart of their ambitions for the UK to become a ‘global science superpower’.

b) STEM leaders from organisations from across the private, public and voluntary sectors should work together to form and co-fund an Employers’ Coalition for STEM Diversity to address the structural inequity in the STEM workforce and drive long-term change.

2. The UK Government must deliver a statutory workforce data strategy and drive forward changes in policy and legislation to support employers to improve equity for minoritised communities in many sectors of the UK workforce, including STEM.

3. The UK Government and STEM organisations must quickly look to address and reverse worsen-ing inequity within the STEM workforce as a result of the pandemic.

Inequity in the workforce has also been found to be historic and systemic. In Reproductive Science we must be aware of this and take responsibility for removing any barriers for minoritised groups to enter our profession

The APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM aims to promote the inclusion and progression of people from diverse backgrounds in STEM, and to encourage government, parliamentarians, academics, businesses and other stakeholders to work towards a STEM sector that is representative of the population. They want to consider and influence changes in policy that will lead to this outcome. The Group is made up of Members of Parliament and Lords, and is a focus for collaboration with businesses and other organisations in the STEM sector.

What can we do as ARCS?

The evidence received for the report shows how barriers appear for every minoritised group along the career pathway – from issues in recruitment and retention, to access to mentors, professional development and leadership roles. Inequity in the workforce has also been found to be historic and systemic. In Reproductive Science we must be aware of this and take responsibility for removing any barriers for minoritised groups to enter our profession. For those in training, concerns have been raised with the NSHCS about the equity of the recruitment process to the STP programme in an open letter. How might this impact on our workforce and that of the future? ARCS would like to get to know our members better, and the first step will be to collect some data to help us with this. Please help us by responding to our diversity questionnaire which we hope to distribute later this year.

If you would like to support ARCS address these issues within our Association, please contact eleanor.Wharf@gstt.nhs.uk or georginabartlivf@hotmail.com