ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Acknowledging structural barriers – a visualization shift from leaky pipeline to a hostile obstacle course in academia

Equal practices are often mistaken as synonymous with equitable practices.  However, the path to get from point A to point B can be different for different people because the surrounding system of people (faculty, staff, students, society) does not respond to all individuals similarly. For example, those who have regularly been extended the benefit of perceived competence before presenting research results may have a hard time relating to those who must first prove their competence before the audience listens to the research results. These multiple layers of different treatment and different barriers are described in this article by Berhe et. al. in Nature Geoscience, as a hostile obstacle course that women and researchers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds have to overcome in STEMM fields.  Acknowledging that the pathways are different and adjusting resources to be responsive to those differences are key ways to position each individual to be successful.

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