At the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, all of our research and education activities are geared around building technology of some kind. The sciencey bits of tech are awesome. I love hearing from students and researchers about clever AI and ever-improving renewable energy tech.
Tech is fun. Tech is tinkering and finding and fixing and breaking and building. It’s playing with things and finding out how stuff works and then finding out how to get stuff to work better.
Privilege has become a bit of a lightning rod recently. I’ve seen ‘privileged’ used as an insult. I’ve seen ‘check your privilege’ thrown at people genuinely trying to engage in conversations in online spaces. You can even take a (very problematic) Buzzfeed Quiz that will tell you how privileged you are, in a score out of 100 points!
Today is the final day of National Reconciliation Week for 2020.
I hope you have all found some time and space to engage with Reconciliation Week, and have been thinking about how you can continue to contribute.
We're rounding out the week by hearing how some of the people in our College have been engaging with reconciliation week, and what it means to them.
National Reconciliation Week is difficult to talk about in an organisation in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are underrepresented in both our staff and student cohorts. This is an uncomfortable reality for us at all times, and National Reconciliation Week highlights that our little bubble is a long way from representing the broader community.
Today is 27 May 2020. It’s the first day of National Reconciliation Week. The 2020 theme for Reconciliation Week is: In this together.
Indigenous Australia is one of the most complex areas of diversity and inclusion to discuss. We can’t cover this in one post, and we can’t even begin to talk about the significance of Indigenous Australia in the CECS disciplines and community, without acknowledging the history and current state of affairs for Indigenous Australians.
A friend of mine, who I will call Sam, used to work in a department with a very low proportion of women. The department deemed this an “issue”, and undertook a cultural audit, which found that the workplace culture was unwelcoming for women - young women in particular. The department Director called a meeting about the audit, and during the discussion, Sam suggested that one way to improve the culture for women might be to hire more women.
Here were some of the responses:
The low numbers of girls and women studying and working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is perhaps the most commonly discussed diversity and inclusion issue in our fields.
First up: it’s ok if you miss a letter, or you’re not sure what they all mean. What’s not ok, is homophobia and transphobia. The problem is, if you’re not part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Intersex, Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community, then it can be hard to know what the sensitive issues are for people in this group.
It’s fair to say we are all having a pretty tough time.
We find ourselves geographically separated, physically isolated, figuring out new ways of working from home, needing more time to care for ourselves and our communities, and wondering what the world is going to look like when the current COVID-19 storm passes.