C. elegans Community Climate Survey - August 2020
Community Survey: We had over 450 responses to our community survey, which is fabulous. Thank you for participating.
Through the course of this survey, we realized that we do not know how large our community actually is. Getting a complete account of our community demographics is challenging, and we will continue to work on this. What the survey does provide, however, is the composition of our community who participated, and a hint at the composition of the community. The pie charts below show who participated in the survey:
Cis/straight 88.9% Queer 4.6% Bisexual 4.4% Pansexual 1.0% Asexual 0.6% Undefined 0.4%
Of course, the question is how these groups compare to the demographics of where worm labs are active. In the US and Europe, the LBGTQIA+ population is 5-6%; so, on this metric, our survey representation is on par. In terms of inclusion of people of color and other traditionally underrepresented minorities, however, we are clearly lacking. For example, the black population in the US is >13% but fewer than 2% appear in our community survey. And that despite the fact that 68% of our institutions have programs for minorities (SURP, PREP, MARC, etc). The question remains how we can best tap into these resources to increase recruitment and retention in our community.
We then asked questions about experiences with the worm community and within people’s current positions. There were excellent suggestions to improve our meetings and these are being communicated to the organizers. More critical, however, is the finding that nearly half of respondents said they did not feel that they are valued and respected members of our community. Responding to this reality in ways that promote lasting change within the culture of our community requires deep thought and consideration. With input from the community, this will remain a priority of WormBoard.
Many members of our community reported that they have experienced racism / sexism/ microaggressions/ bullying, etc. These need to be addressed within the community. This may include training sessions at the IWM, power hours, creation of a mentoring programs (see initiative #2 in August message to the community), and implementation of various forums where concerns can be safely voiced.
What is also clear is that people want a database for resources and are interested in a newsletter and are themselves willing to volunteer to participate in mentoring, at the IWM and regional meetings, and on publications. We look forward to providing a more thorough examination of the survey results with a complete report and the raw data (including direct quote comments) issued to the community by Oct 1.