When reading recently about the history of women academics at my institution, the University of Glasgow, I was shocked to discover there were only five women Professors in the University in 1990.

This was the year I began my own postgraduate studies in science, society and ethics, without daring to imagine that I myself might ever be a Professor let alone a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Like many academics who are the first in the family to go to University, I still struggle with the occasional pang of imposter syndrome, even although things have moved on considerably since the 1990s. I don’t mind admitting I had to be encouraged to apply for the Council and doubt I would have applied on my own initiative. I approached the interview process with trepidation and worried I did not have the right background or expertise on bioethics. I distinctly remember fretting over whether or not I would be seen as someone who knew how to properly deliberate about contemporary bioethical challenges on the train down to the interview.

Thankfully I joined a Council Executive, Membership and Trustees who had been working to broaden the membership, contributors and audiences for their inquiries and reports for some time and I have been fortunate to be able to take part in some careful and open discussions about how much more work there is to be done to make the Council a place where more people feel they belong. Like many organisations, the Council is grappling with how the legacies of colonialism and other concentrations of power and wealth affect our work as we negotiate our place in ongoing cultural and political debates about expertise, accountability and public trust.

There is no easy solution to this, but we are trying to make progress. We know we need to do more to involve under-represented groups in our work, especially black, disabled, trans and queer scholars, advocates and other kinds of experts - as members of the Council and as part of working groups and other initiatives.

Our latest advert for new members is here. This time around we are especially keen to receive applications from people working in biomedicine, healthcare or medical / biological sciences. As we note in our advert:

‘We value diversity and are keen to encourage applications from all sections of the community including those from groups that are currently under-represented on the Council. We particularly encourage applications from minority ethnic candidates, those who are LGBTQ+, or who have a disability.’

Please consider joining us and help us to make the Council a place where all different kinds of perspectives and experiences of bioethics belong.

Comments (1)

  • Ignace Tshibangu   

    Le message est très intéressant mais donnez nous aussi la possibilité nous qui sommes francophone de participer à la discussion, si possible en interprétant le texte en français. Je suis chercheur indépendant en Ethique , résident en RD Congo où on manque une école de formation en Ethique médicale, clinique, de recherche et autres. Merci.
    Dr Ignace Mulamba

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