“So racism and sexism weaken science” – time.news

by time news

Astrophysics drives a project that fosters inclusion. And in the US Biden moved

Diversity in society and at work is a great challenge but the time has come to take it seriously, explains Rita Sambruna, deputy director of the astrophysics division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, guest today at the Iab Forum in Milan (also visible in streaming) dedicated to the new era digital and its environmental sustainability (read the presentation article here). Now his commitment as manager of the large space agency center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will remove the barriers between people in every respect.

A great help came from the report just released by the National Science Foundation which sets the lines of research for the next decade. But the new strategy goes beyond science because, for the first time, recommendations are made to combat racism, sexism and other aspects including religion, which divide the research community and consequently weaken the quality of science. Now in my center, white men make up nearly 80 percent – an improper majority.
What suggestions emerge from the document?

The report is addressed to NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation asking to diversify the organization of work to expand both the opportunities and the guidance of the programs also considering the impact on the environment that research projects have. . For example, in Hawaii there is a dispute with some local people who refuse to host a new telescope. We must listen to them and find a solution that respects the various interests and the different way of thinking. They consider the indicated territory sacred and therefore not to be violated.
Is it enough to give oneself internal rules to find solutions?

Certainly not. In addition to the document that came last September, there is also an order from President Biden that requires public agencies to ask themselves how it is possible to increase diversity in our organizations. I believe this will have a great impact, even in Europe, because never before has there been a political intervention of this magnitude.
Isn’t the step from laws to reality always easy?

Similar interventions are not enough to ensure diversity and inclusion. Meanwhile, diversity alone is not enough if we do not accept the inclusion that is essential to allow true participation and real sharing. Furthermore, it is not even enough to consider the merit because, together, we must guarantee opportunities.
Changes are often rejected because privileges have to be given up. What challenge?

Difficult, because it requires individual change, different thinking, willpower; the laws are not enough. But I am optimistic and I am convinced that we will be able to build a more equal society.

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November 16, 2021 (change November 16, 2021 | 09:25)

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