This week I wanted to write about diversity in the STEM workforce. I went into my research with my own opinions on why diversity is important to any workforce. I found an interesting article that took a different approach to diversity in STEM that changed my viewpoint on the issue.
I have always seen diversity as gender, sexual orientation, economic background, race, etc. Having a variety of different types of people in any given profession is something I have always found to be essential. People from different groups come from different backgrounds and have unique experiences that add different layers to a company and/or workforce.
The author of this article, Kenneth Gibbs Jr., got his PHD from Stanford Medical School and is currently the director of the PRAT program at the National Institute of General Medical Studies. He is a black man in a field where only 2 percent of grants are given to black professionals, yet he does not consider himself diverse.
Dr. Gibbs Jr. defines diversity as difference. He believes that groups are diverse not individuals. It is groups of people of different race, gender, etc that give a company the diversity they need to reach their full potential.
He explains three important reasons that diversity in STEM fields is important:
- Diversity is critical to excellence
- Lack of diversity represents a loss of talent
- Enhancing diversity is key to long-term economic growth and global competitiveness
All of these points lead back to the main idea that diversity is needed in STEM to allow future growth. “Diversity in science refers to cultivating talent, and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum,” said Dr. Gibbs Jr.
After reading this article, I understand diversity on a different level. It is not about one person from a different group or background that makes a field diverse. It is full groups coming together to give the company different viewpoints and, in turn, better ideas and results.
The STEM field affects everyone. Whether it be a doctor or an engineer, they are attempting to better people’s lives and the things we use on a daily basis. Having a collection of different groups in this field will allow them to see from different viewpoints and come to the best results in a variety of different professions.