A sponsorship action plan for increasing diversity in STEMM

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ecology and Evolution, 2019, 9 (5), pp. 2340 - 2345
Issue Date:
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© 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. There are numerous structural and cultural barriers to the progression of women and marginalized groups to leadership in academia, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). A range of interventions have been described to address this inequity, with varying success. Here, we suggest that sponsorship could be one effective intervention and propose an institutional action plan to implement a sponsorship program in academia. We outline why sponsorship could be an effective strategy, especially if implemented through a deliberate program by an institution. We then detail the three components of an action plan to be considered in implementation: the elements of the program, the activities that sponsorship in academia likely encompasses, and the selection of sponsors and protégés. The plan could also be enacted by academic leadership in the absence of an institutional program and could serve as a guide to individuals in academia aspiring to address diversity and inclusion in STEMM.
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