(Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences-Microbial Ecology Laboratory)

Diversity leads to better science

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In “Gender diversity leads to better science,” Nielsen et al. (2017) highlight why gender diversity matters for science and how managers can maximize diversity.

The article notes that “gender diversity may . . . spark new discoveries by broadening the viewpoints, questions, and areas addressed by researchers.” What can managers do to create an environment in which both gender diversity and innovation thrive? Nielsen et al. (2017) cite the following: encourage high levels of cross-job communication, non-hierarchical structures, free culture and gender expression, and inclusive decision making. However, “[r]ecruiting women is not enough.” It will take thoughtful policy and leadership to “harness the power of gender diversity for collective innovations and discoveries.”

In January, Scientific American republished an article from a 2014 special report on how diversity powers science and innovation. “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” written by Professor Katherine Philliips of Columbia Business School, is another excellent article which highlights how diversity influences our creativity, diligence, and work ethic.

Nielsen MW, Andersen JP, Schneider JW, Does gender composition influence medical research groups’ orientation towards gender and sex-based analysis? National Science Foundation-funded workshop “Is there a gender-diversity dividend in science?” February 26, 2016, Stanford, CA.

Phillips KW. How diversity makes us smarter. Scientific American. October 1, 2014.


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