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A Mandate for Deep
Diversity in the Cultural
Evolution Society
Prepared by:
	 Joe Brewer
	 Culture Designer

	 The Evoluti...
Role Modeling the Future of Diversity in Science
Last fall, a volunteer-based Bylaws Committee grappled with the need for ...
The greatest urgency was expressed around gender representation, leading us to actively recruit
more women into the foundi...
Recommendations for Achieving These Goals
After receiving substantial feedback from the Election Advisory Group, the Elect...
Recommendation 5 :: Establish A Knowledge Diversity Mission

It will be difficult to include all disciplines relevant to cu...
representation at the highest level of academia shows that less than one-eighth of the
members of science academies around...
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A Mandate for Deep Diversity in the Cultural Evolution Society

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Last fall, a volunteer-based Bylaws Committee grappled with the need for diversity representation and a broadly inclusive mission for this society. This spring an Elections Committee and Election Advisory Group came together to set the policy framework for electing our inaugural leadership, again stressing the vital importance of diversity for the success of this collective endeavor.
A message has come through loud and clear—the Cultural Evolution Society needs to be a role model for the future of scientific societies in its policies and practices. This will require active introspection and intentional design throughout its birthing process.

Published in: Science
  • The argument for maintaining the same ratio in leadership and membership is reasonably robust and can be stomached across a reasonably wide spectrum of political opinions. Setting parity quotas implicitly invokes a whole system of purely ideological standpoints - and it (probably by design) makes anybody not sharing those political views feel quite excluded. I'm of the opinion that everybody gains when merit is in focus, not all sorts of other criteria - I can buy maintaining the same proportions, but parity quotas is in fact quite a strong political statement. Was there ever a vote of some sort on this? Volonteer-based doesn't sound very reassuring in my ears.
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  • Good article - Joe, we are coming to Seattle for a holacracy workshop 3/21-25--- if you are in Seattle.. may be interesting to catch up there...
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  • @Francisco Benavente This idea was suggested in the Elections Committee and has merit. At the same time, several members of the committee felt it is more important to establish gender parity (equal numbers in leadership roles) as this is what we aspire toward -- otherwise the male dominance will continue at a population statistics level.
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  • I believe it would be best to set up a quota for gender balance equal to the male/female ratio in the membership of the organisation. Otherwise we would be favoring one sex at the expense of the other, I think.
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A Mandate for Deep Diversity in the Cultural Evolution Society

  1. 1. A Mandate for Deep Diversity in the Cultural Evolution Society Prepared by: Joe Brewer Culture Designer
 The Evolution Institute March 7th, 2016

  2. 2. Role Modeling the Future of Diversity in Science Last fall, a volunteer-based Bylaws Committee grappled with the need for diversity representation and a broadly inclusive mission for this society. This spring an Elections Committee and Election Advisory Group came together to set the policy framework for electing our inaugural leadership, again stressing the vital importance of diversity for the success of this collective endeavor. A message has come through loud and clear—the Cultural Evolution Society needs to be a role model for the future of scientific societies in its policies and practices. This will require active introspection and intentional design throughout its birthing process. ——— Our guiding principle for diversity is structural inclusivity, which means structures are put in place to ensure the desired kinds of diversity that need to be included. ——— We identified four categories of diversity that need clear protocols in this society: ✦ Gender Representation :: Historically, science has been predominantly a man’s world. To this day it remains difficult for women to achieve parity in leadership and participation across scientific societies and academic institutions. ✦ Stage of Career :: All communities need to have burgeoning youth, wise elders, and all points in between. Active engagement with students and early career professionals is the future of science. Late career and retired faculty are the embodiment of experience. ✦ Regional and Cultural Representation :: Science may have began in the West but has since become truly global in scope. Overcoming the ‘founder effect’ where variation is lost when1 a small portion of a population establishes early advantage will require that we actively seek out leadership and members from different regions of the world. ✦ Knowledge Diversity for Synthesis :: The top priority ‘grand challenge’ for cultural evolution (identified by surveying our membership) is knowledge synthesis across the biological and social sciences and humanity disciplines, such as history. Cultural Evolution, of necessity, is a transdisciplinary science. Progress in this new science will require broad inclusion of expertise, tools, and methods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect1 Cultural Evolution Society - Mandate for Deep Diversity Prepared on March 4th, 2016
  3. 3. The greatest urgency was expressed around gender representation, leading us to actively recruit more women into the founding membership and discuss a quota system for leadership positions. We have made some progress—growing the percentage of eligible voters from 22% to 36% by putting out a call to the membership in an email. Next we will need to establish a policy for getting a representative number of these women into leadership roles. Less clear, yet equally important, was the manner in which regional/cultural diversity is to be achieved—we simply do not know at this stage in the process how many members of the elected leadership are needed to represent world regions, nations, and other tribal entities. The suggestion was made that we define a set of “members at large” to represent several non-Western regions of the world. But the devil’s in the details and we have not settled on a final number of regions or cultural scope that feels right. Stage of career is easier to deal with, simply by having student representatives and recruiting early career people as part of the mix. Standard practices can be drawn from other societies to achieve this. Our unique focus on knowledge synthesis makes it more difficult to know how to proceed. Disciplinary boundaries remain culturally real and institutionally embedded across universities and scientific communities around the world. Still, there are many societies with interdisciplinary scope we can draw from to reach this goal—via member recruitment, design of cross-cutting research agendas, and in the thematic composition for conferences and meetings. We are applying the findings of cultural evolution to the society itself—by recognizing the need to structure the inaugural leadership around policies and people who embody the founder effect for the future of science. This is our challenge in the nomination and election process. And it will become a mandate for deep diversity (across all four diversity categories) in the formal bylaws and organizational practices of the society beyond the first election. Cultural Evolution Society - Mandate for Deep Diversity Prepared on March 4th, 2016
  4. 4. Recommendations for Achieving These Goals After receiving substantial feedback from the Election Advisory Group, the Elections Committee is advocating for a diversity mandate that is both structurally clear and agile in the manner it can be applied. We acknowledged how implicit bias is both unconscious in the individual mind and2 reinforced as a network effect in social settings. Simply declaring that we want diversity will not be sufficient for achieving it in practice. It is necessary to set clear policies that are easy to implement for the nomination of candidates and the running of elections. As electoral protocols for fairness and accountability are standard practice, the nexus for intervention should be in eligibility to run for office, member recruitment across the voter base, and as quotas for outcomes of the nomination process. In other words, we can intervene by (1) setting eligibility requirements that include diversity criteria (while remaining fair and inclusive overall): (2) actively seeking members who embody diversity prior to elections; and (3) introducing criteria for who gets on the ballot to ensure diversity representation in the outcomes. A number of ideas were proposed and discussed—culminating in the following recommendations. Recommendation 1 :: Recruit More Women
 It is worth taking the time to reach out again for more women to join as founding members. This will help equalize the pool of eligible candidates and shape the demographic composition of the electorate. We can continue member recruitment in parallel with nominations to keep the process moving. Recommendation 2 :: Set A Quota for Female Leadership
 Either set a requirement that gender alternates for each election cycle (e.g. a male president this time means a female must be president next time) or establish criteria for proportional representation (e.g. the leadership body has the same gender percentage as the electorate). A decision needs to be made regarding how best to do this. Recommendation 3 :: Have Male and Female Student Representatives
 Among the members-at-large there can be one male and one female student representative. This establishes criteria for both stage of career and gender representation. Recommendation 4 :: Seed the Global with Four World Regions
 More discussion is needed about how to “go global” with society representation. This can be addressed through society activities in the bylaws and beyond. At this early stage, we can set clear intentions by having one member-at-large from each of four non-Western world regions—Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/understanding-implicit-bias/2 Cultural Evolution Society - Mandate for Deep Diversity Prepared on March 4th, 2016
  5. 5. Recommendation 5 :: Establish A Knowledge Diversity Mission
 It will be difficult to include all disciplines relevant to cultural evolutionary studies in the inaugural election. What we can do now is establish a mission to provide synthesis and integration across the biological and social sciences in our mission. This will enable us to include knowledge diversity through the practices of the society. Adopting these recommendations will enable us to balance the need for expediency (get elections done in a timely manner) with the need for strategic intent (ensuring these diversity requirements are met). The one remaining topic of discussion is about how best to achieve gender balance in the elected leadership. This will require further dialogue and debate. Let us take up this challenge now and get it resolved promptly. We offer three options for discussion that have come up as possible mechanisms for ensuring equity of gender representation in the election outcomes. They are: 1. Make a clear declaration that it is a key goal and that the nominations committee will do everything possible that the eventual outcome of elections will move us toward equal representation as fast as possible. For example, Sarah Mathew suggested that council members-at-large positions would have either all woman or all man candidates. 2. Set a quota for female leadership equal to the proportion of women in the Society. 3. Set a quote for female leadership at 50%. This is the topic we now need to discuss and come to terms with. What is the best option among these for us to implement? Is there another option that comes to mind when reflecting on those listed here? A Closing Note About Sexism in Science We are taking the issue of gender seriously because a number of scandals have recently come to light in other scientific communities—causing many women to feel unwelcome and unsafe in their professional arenas. Two research studies that paint a picture of the current landscape can be found here: ✦ Women Under-Represented in World’s Science Academies :: Fewer than half of academies have policies in place for gender equality in membership. The first global survey of women’s Cultural Evolution Society - Mandate for Deep Diversity Prepared on March 4th, 2016
  6. 6. representation at the highest level of academia shows that less than one-eighth of the members of science academies around the world are women.3 ✦ The Sexism at Indian Universities That No One Is Talking About :: Only five of India’s 46 central universities have women vice-chancellors—heads of the institution. Even some of India’s most liberal universities, such as the 47-year-old Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), have never had a woman vice-chancellor.4 There is much work to be done here. As we go through the process of birthing the Cultural Evolution Society it is incumbent upon us to lean toward the future and not reproduce harmful patterns from the past. http://www.nature.com/news/women-under-represented-in-world-s-science-academies-1.194653 http://qz.com/622161/the-sexism-at-indian-universities-that-no-one-is-talking-about/4 Cultural Evolution Society - Mandate for Deep Diversity Prepared on March 4th, 2016

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