Early Efforts to Promote Diversity, 1988-1993

The “Women and Minorities Committee” was originally established in 1988. It became a standing committee of ESA in 1991 and was later renamed the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee.

Women and Minorities in Ecology
In 1993, a Strategic Planning Workshop chaired by Barbara Bentley produced a report: “Mechanisms to Increase Recruitment and Retention of Women and Under-represented Groups in Ecology” (known as WAMIE I), which defined a vision for ESA’s diversity programs and recommended an “integrated strategy” to improve the situation:

“to achieve a population of ecologists that reflects the gender and cultural diversity in the general population of the United States of America.”

To reach this goal, the following measures were proposed:

  • Create a scientific environment that embraces diversity and allows all professionals to flourish regardless of gender, racial, or cultural background.
  • Reduce or remove barriers to entry and advancement in the profession.
  • Strive to assure that the teaching and research agendas in ecology address the relevance of ecological knowledge to our diverse society.
  • Promote and encourage increased participation of all members of society in the application of ecological principles.

The WAMIE I report noted a “lack of mentors” for under-represented groups and proposed changes in ESA policy and structure, as well as education and information outreach to help promote better understanding of career options and paths for professional ecologists.

“Ethnic minorities are under-represented in the ESA (Holland et al. 1992; Lawrence et al. 1993a; Morrin et al. 1993). This disparity, as well as the conviction that ecologists must play an important role in addressing environmental issues, argue[s] strongly for a special effort by ESA to develop specific recruitment and retention strategies for these communities.” (p 3).

To make role models more visible, a series of “Focus on Ecologists” brochures was proposed as part of this effort. These “profiles” were made available online, but have been inaccessible in recent years. We are in the process of retrieving this content; see our Focus on Ecologists page to access individual profiles.

brochures

Continued at Results and Followup to WAMIE I, 1996-2016

References
Bentley, B., A. Berkowitz, C. Cid, D. Freckman, L. Graumlich, M. Holland, K. Hollweg, C. Hunsaker, J. Lanza, L. Metzgar, T. Muir, E. Niebla, S. Ortega, M. Rugiero, and J. Weis. 1993. Mechanisms to Increase Recruitment and Retention of Women and Under-represented Groups in Ecology. Report from the Strategic Planning Workshop, Ecological Society of America. 52 p.

Holland M.M., D.M. Lawrence, D.J. Morrin, C. Hunsaker, D. Inouye, A. Janetos, H.R. Pulliam, W. Robertson, and J. Wilson. 1992. Profile of Ecologists: Results of a Survey of the Membership of the Ecological Society of America. Ecological Society of America, Public Affairs Office, Washington, DC, USA.

Lawrence, D.M., M.M. Holland, and D.J. Morrin. 1993 Profile of Ecologists: Results of a Survey of the Membership of the Ecological Society of America. Part I. A snapshot of survey respondents. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 74(1): 21-35.

Lawrence, D.M., M.M. Holland, and D.J. Morrin. 1993 Profile of Ecologists: Results of a Survey of the Membership of the Ecological Society of America. Part II. Education and employment patterns. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 74(2): 153-169.