Diversity in Science

The scientific community has expanded exponentially in the last century. While white males dominated the fields of science and engineering in the early 20th century, women and minorities have made significant advancements in terms of inclusion of both fields, with pioneers such as Marie Curie and George Washington Carver commanding their respective fields.

However, according to Fred Guterl in his article “Diversity in Science: Where Are the Data?” while men make up roughly one third of the U.S. population, they account for over half of the representation in science and engineering. In South Africa, where white men make up only 5% of the population, they represent 31% of all those in the fields of research and development. Throughout the article, Guterl further exemplifies the disparity of minorities, women, those with lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and those with disabilities in scientific fields

I find this especially concerning, considering the overarching themes and values of which science and technology embody. To me, science is about discovering what has yet to be discovered and broadening the scope of the world in which we find ourselves. Technology is about improving our existing developments and incorporating new ideas into these improvements. How can we as a society grow and improve if we allow only the ideas of a small sector to govern how we go about growing and improving? How can we really reach our full potential if only the thoughts of a single segment are heard and acted upon? What depth of information and advancement are we missing out on, simply because we refuse the means of which this information originates?

It is because of this fact that I find it all the more imperative for our global society to incorporate the ideas of many into the scientific discussion. The only way we can overcome is through understanding; the only way we can progress is through acceptance.

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