NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: During the summer months, the frequency of the DEI Digest will be reduced to a biweekly basis. We anticipate resumption of a weekly digest August 23, at the start of the Fall 2021 Semester.
1. LGBTQ+ Racial Diversity in Film During 2020: A study by GLAAD, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ people in media, found that in 2020 there was a growth in racial diversity among LGBTQ+ characters in films by major studios. However, there were no trans or non-binary characters represented in those films. Of the characters noted in these films, 11 were portrayed as women and 9 as men, the first time in the organization's tracking that there were more women than men represented in those roles. In all, the organization examined 44 films released by major studios in 2020, which created a more limited sample size due to the pandemic.
(Associated Press, via PBS Newshour: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/study-finds-more-racial-diversity-in-lgbtq-film-characters)
2. Departures of Women Leaders from Facebook: Maxine Williams, Chief Diversity Officer for Facebook, was recently interviewed by CNBC following the release of the organization's annual diversity report. Three women leaders left in 2021, but Williams explained that their departures were "not such a bad thing" because they advanced to higher leadership positions at other companies. Facebook in 2020 saw an increase of women in leadership from 34.2 percent in 2020 to 35.5 percent in 2021, but its overall representation of women in its workforce fell from 37 percent in 2020 to 36.7 percent in 2021. The company does not break out its retention statistics.
3. Audubon Groups Pledge Change: The nearly 500 chapters of Audubon, groups dedicated to birdwatching and the conservation of birds, have undertaken a self-examination over the group's past (founded in the 19th century by a slaveholder and opponent of abolition) and to find ways to diversify staff and ways to make natural spaces more welcoming to people of color.
In addition to the overall national reckoning over racial inequality and injustice, the movement for self-examination at the organization was sparked by an incident last summer where Christian Cooper, a Black man pursing his hobby of birdwatching in Central Park in New York, was harassed by a white woman after he asked her to leash her dog. The incident, where she called the police, was caught on video.
(For reference, you can read a 2020 NPR interview with Cooper following the incident: https://www.wbur.org/npr/862838384/an-avid-birder-talks-about-a-conflict-in-central-park-he-taped-and-went-viral)
(Associated Press via WBUR Boston: https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/07/15/watching-for-birds-and-diversity-audubon-groups-pledge-change)
4. Implementing President Biden's Diversity & Inclusion Executive Order: Federal agencies are working to determine how to implement an executive order signed by President Biden in June to promote and improve diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility within the federal workforce. Agencies are required to measure demographic representation and track trends, which the Office of Management and Budget and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are tackling to see how government can best collect better and more data.
5. Geneticists Outline Plan to Boost Diversity & Inclusion in the Field: In an opinion piece for the open-access journal PLOS Genetics, a group of geneticists outlined action-steps to increase diversity, inclusion and representation in the field, including an action plan for boosting DEI at academic conferences, representation in genetics research leadership, and other areas.
(American Association for the Advancement of Science: (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/p-gop070821.php)