New study details many ways scientists from minority groups are disadvantaged in STEM


Interactions with work colleagues can be challenging for anyone to navigate. But they’re more difficult for some than others. “My first day of work someone … physically blocked me from getting my mail in the faculty mailroom,” a molecular biologist tweeted during the 2020 deluge of #BlackintheIvory posts. She added, “They literally said, ‘Well, you don’t LOOK LIKE you could work here.’”

Those pushing for greater inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) point to experiences like that Twitter user’s to illustrate the challenges scientists who identify as part of a minority group face in the workplace. But these advocates sometimes experience pushback from colleagues who think scientists aren’t treated differentially depending on their identity, says Erin Cech, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who studies inequalities in STEM.


Erin Cech’s research article “The intersectional privilege of white able-bodied heterosexual men in STEM” is available as part of Wesleyan’s Inclusion in STEM Resources in the ‘Privilege and Whiteness’ section.