Black Lives Matter

A statement from the Equality and Diversity Working Group (EDWG) of the British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU).

Black Lives MatterLike many around the world we were shocked at recent events in the US and some of the responses to these events within the US and in other countries which served only to highlight division and prejudice and the suppression of minorities.

In light of these events we voice our support for the Black community and echo the voices around the world saying Black Lives Matter and state that we stand against all forms of racism and prejudice.

Black people have long been under-represented within ecology and, more specifically, within ornithology. This has been magnified by recent events and the BOU and ornithology as a whole has much to learn in order to improve representation of Black people and other People of Colour within our research community.

Black voices and the voices of all People of Colour need to be heard at greater volume within the BOU and the wider ornithological community. We are determined to hear you. We need to identify and resolve barriers to better enable progression for Black and other ethnic minorities within ornithology.

Acknowledging inequality
It’s important that we recognise inequality where and when it occurs within our community.

Ecological sciences have a lower representation of minority groups (of all ethnicities) and nationalities than elsewhere in the sciences. As a result, we see few people from minority groups taking up ecology courses on entering higher education, and fewer still embarking on PhDs and becoming employed ecologists.

Ornithology must be welcoming to all ethnicities, and as a prominent society within ornithology the BOU is committed to ensure that all People of Colour in our community feel welcome, heard and supported.

Improving equality, diversity and inclusion
In recent years the BOU has been working on increasing equality, diversity and inclusion across all activities and our Equality and Diversity Working Group is engaged at all levels to ensure that this is delivered.

However, we still have much to learn and much work to do, and specifically we need to:

  • Ensure that the voices of all under-represented groups within our membership, and from the wider community, are heard and listened to;
  • Work harder to ensure that minority groups are represented on our Council, committees, editorial boards and staff;
  • Create safe and supportive spaces for everyone to come together and work together;
  • Increase the momentum in our equality, diversity and inclusion work.

The BOU are actively researching how we can deliver and build on the above. We welcome comments about how the BOU can improve and how we can all work together to reduce inequality and increase diversity and inclusiveness within ornithology.

Please do get in touch with the Equality and Diversity Working Group: