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Who is Missing in Planetary Science?: Recommendations to increase the number of Black and Latinx scientists

Presentation #502.15 in the session “Plenary Panel: Workforce Townhall”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Who is Missing in Planetary Science?: Recommendations to increase the number of Black and Latinx scientists

Rivera-Valentín, et al. (this conference) has demonstrated that racial and ethnic minority groups are the most underrepresented groups in planetary science. Furthermore, this underrepresentation occurs at all career levels and the level of underrepresentation generally increases as careers progresses. While the representation of some groups has improved slightly over the last decade, the increase in representation is still substantially below the representation in the general population. The proportion of Black / African American planetary scientists has not increased at all in the past 10 years.

These results demonstrate that there are barriers to entry into every new level of becoming (and remaining) a planetary scientist. Therefore, changes are required at every level, including education and training, recruitment, and promotion and retention. Furthermore, the lack of substantial change in representation over the past 10 years demonstrates that current colorblind policies in place in planetary science are not working and discrimination is still occuring. Instead, we need to implement anti-racist policies to open up participation in planetary science.

Our recommendations include suggesting that NASA implement a plan for continued, expanded, and funded workforce studies over the next decade, tracking demographics in grants proposed and awarded and sharing that information; create dedicated programs for members of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups (similar to the programs they currently have for women and girls); require grantees to submit documentation of and progress on metrics related to diversity, inclusion and equity as it relates to underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities; and treat racial and sexual harassment as a form of research misconduct and require mandatory reporting of harassment findings. In our presentation, we will elaborate on these and other recommendations in more detail.

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