Skubel Rachel A.

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Rachel A.

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  • Article
    Pathways to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in marine science and conservation
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-12-23) Johri, Shaili ; Carnevale, Maria ; Porter, Lindsay ; Zivian, Anna ; Kourantidou, Melina ; Meyer, Erin L. ; Seevers, Jessica ; Skubel, Rachel A.
    Marine conservation sciences have traditionally been, and remain, non-diverse work environments with many barriers to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). These barriers disproportionately affect entry of early career scientists and practitioners and limit the success of marine conservation professionals from under-represented, marginalized, and overburdened groups. These groups specifically include women, LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). However, the issues also arise from the global North/South and East/West divide with under-representation of scientists from the South and East in the global marine conservation and science arena. Persisting inequities in conservation, along with a lack of inclusiveness and diversity, also limit opportunities for innovation, cross-cultural knowledge exchange, and effective implementation of conservation and management policies. As part of its mandate to increase diversity and promote inclusion of underrepresented groups, the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Society for Conservation Biology-Marine Section (SCB Marine) organized a JEDI focus group at the Sixth International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC6) which was held virtually. The focus group included a portion of the global cohort of IMCC6 attendees who identified issues affecting JEDI in marine conservation and explored pathways to address those issues. Therefore, the barriers and pathways identified here focus on issues pertinent to participants’ global regions and experiences. Several barriers to just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive conservation science and practice were identified. Examples included limited participation of under-represented minorities (URM) in research networks, editorial biases against URM, limited professional development and engagement opportunities for URM and non-English speakers, barriers to inclusion of women, LGBTQ+, and sensory impaired individuals, and financial barriers to inclusion of URM in all aspects of marine conservation and research. In the current policy brief, we explore these barriers, assess how they limit progress in marine conservation research and practice, and seek to identify initiatives for improvements. We expect the initiatives discussed here to advances practices rooted in principles of JEDI, within SCB Marine and, the broader conservation community. The recommendations and perspectives herein broadly apply to conservation science and practice, and are critical to effective and sustainable conservation and management outcomes.