Take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to find out if you are biased toward a specific group of people.
Negative stereotypes pervade people's lives. Its recognition is the first step towards fighting prejudice. A mindful awareness of your own implicit bias allows you to commit to positive actions to combat prejudice.
You can find bellow some concrete steps to diminish the impact of bias in your life.
You are on a selection committee and want to avoid bias in your admission/hiring procedure
- Think about your criteria and their weighting before looking at the applicants.
- Be wary about using 'expert knowledge' of a lab, as this tends to unfair for smaller labs.
Many 'objective' predictors (GPA, GRE, undergraduate institution prestige, research statement) are actually biased by, for example, financial resources, and are not actually good predictors of success in a program. Consider these achievements relative to the background of the applicant. Recommendation letters are the only shown predictor of success.
Unpaid undergraduate research is not available to everyone due to financial constraints. Seriously consider other kinds of work experience.
Do Skype interviews on a longer list so you can find students who are actually better than they may look on paper. Use the same questions on each candidate. One example is to ask them to read and discuss a paper on Skype beforehand.
Consider potential rather than achievement. Therefore, take into account the background of the candidate.
You are a team leader and want to support women and people of color on your team
- Hiring women and underrepresented minorities is not enough. You must follow through by giving them the support and mentorship necessary for them to succeed.
- Be explicit with your students that they were chosen for their potential and it is OK if they have some knowledge gaps and that they can catch up
- Have a plan/timeline for filling in those knowledge gaps.
- Ask if they would like any additional mentors or other support. Check in from time to time to make sure that the mentorship is running smoothly.
- Be explicit that if they have any issues or hear any in your lab/department, it is your responsibility to support them.
You are an underrepresented minority and want to counteract bias against yourself
- Recognise situations that are known to be a challenge for underrepresented minorities and use that to prepare yourself. Example: if you are in a position of negotiation, and you know that women are less likely to be offered enough desk space, find information on lab spaces of other universities, or other people in your community so you can make a strong case to get the resources that you need.
- Push yourself to ask questions even if you feel uncomfortable . This will help you engage in your community.
- Reach out to senior researchers, for example by emailing to ask a question about a paper or a topic.
- Nominate yourself for awards or ask someone to nominate you.
- Find a community of colleagues to support you.
- Make use of existing resources.
- Make your achievements known. Take risks and send your work to high impact journals.
You are a team leader / trainee / lecturer / anyone and want to reduce bias in your field
- Change the message sent to trainees to deemphasise notions of genius, brilliance, etc. (as research finds these items are more strongly associated with men than women or individuals from stereotyped groups) to success, and instead reinforce the importance of dedication and hard work.
- Don't frame course content with the implication that 'either you get it right or else there's no point to try'. Talk about mistakes as learning opportunities.
- Share personal anecdotes about overcoming struggles, to reshape perception that you need to be brilliant to succeed. These messages are particularly powerful coming from more senior researchers.
- If you notice something sexist, call it out, even if you are a man. Don't assume a woman will call it out as that puts unfair burden on female scientists.
- At conferences, ask about representation. Consider refusing to speak if the balance is skewed. Hold conference organisers accountable. Example: https://biaswatchneuro.com/
- If you think of a resource that could help with implicit bias or representation (example: a list of potential female speakers in your field), make your own and share them online. Example: https://anneslist.net/
- Nominate a woman or person of color for an award.
- Ask your minority colleagues how you can help.
- More senior people should take lead on these changes.
- Be active and join the Equality & Diversity committee!