Moving Beyond the Business Case for Diversity

Over the past few years, efforts to elevate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in the geosciences have thankfully gained momentum as these imperatives are more broadly discussed in academic and research circles, the private sector, and professional societies like AGU. In many cases, institutions have adopted initiatives and created programs focused on DEIJ that are guided by mission statements espousing commitments to do better. These statements, which distill institutions’ motivations for pursuing DEIJ, vary in their phrasing but almost universally revolve around a similar theme...The business case for diversity may thus seem sound. But it is not enough and is potentially even harmful. Put another way, it is inappropriate as the driving motivation for DEIJ work because it fails to acknowledge the paramount moral rationales for this work; more importantly, it can create unintended negative impacts, particularly for students and scholars who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and for other marginalized groups. We therefore argue that institutions should reframe their views of DEIJ and their approaches to diversify their institutions.

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Citation: Haacker, R., M. Burt, and M. Vara (2022), Moving beyond the business case for diversity, Eos, 103, Published on 9 February 2022.