WGC pledges to be #DifferentTogether

Just when we thought the world could not grieve more, we were proven wrong again. WGC stands with the families, friends, and communities of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery, Chantal Moore, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Jake Samson, Morris Cardinal, and too many more. We stand together to oppose racist acts, language, violence, and discrimination.


Our goal from the start has been to promote gender diversity within our field and that extends to all genders, all heritages, and all people. While we are Women Geoscientists in Canada with the intention of advocating for greater equality for womxn in our field, we feel strongly that increased diversity representing all people is needed in the geosciences and universally.


It can be hard to find the right words to say. The following eloquent quote resonated with us and is a brief part from a letter the Canadian Human Rights Commission shared earlier this month.


“Now is the time for all Canadians, but especially non-racialized Canadians, to listen, learn and reflect on how white privilege and systemic racism contribute to injustice and inequality in this country. We need to look inwards and challenge our biases, fears, assumptions and privilege. We need to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations.” – Canadian Human Rights Commission


A petition has been started for professional geoscience organizations to take action against racism and make it part of their foundations. They have shared an action plan on how organizations can move forward. We encourage you to sign the petition and share it widely.


WGC is adopting this action plan, slightly altering it given our not-for-profit status versus a professional society, and explicitly making it part of our mission statement. We will update our website to reflect our views before September 2020. Many of these items are true to our current mission but we find they are eloquently written, to the point, and make a clear stand of our values and intentions. Below is not our final new mission statement, but rather a first iteration. We welcome your feedback to improve this! We can be reached at womengeoscientistscanada@gmail.com.


1. Post anti-racism statements publicly and accessibly, and support the addition of anti-racism into code of ethics of professional societies (e.g., EGBC, PGO)

  • We will post our current policies as well as our support of anti-racist and marginalized organizations more prominently on our website.

  • We will advocate that professional societies also publicly support and include anti-racism, diversity, and inclusivity in their policies and procedures.

2. All members and all levels of leadership should actively work to understand the lived experiences of minoritized groups.

  • In Slack, we regularly share articles and interviews of marginalized people’s experiences in industry and academia.

  • We will investigate expanding into online panels and promoting discussions that are more accessible than Slack.

3. Identify ways we have failed minoritized groups both structurally and individually.

  • Reach out to our members for their comments and feedback, and reevaluate the content we share and produce.

  • Think about our individual actions in daily life and make conscious efforts to do better.

4. Interrogate written policies and procedures to identify bias, then revise and redesign policies and evaluation criteria to be anti-discriminatory.

  • We have an Anti-Harassment Policy, Events Code of Conduct, Harassment Reporting System, and a Board Diversity Policy.

  • We will review our current policies to ensure they are current and inclusive.

  • We will post our policies prominently on our website.

  • Educate ourselves and provide resources to recognize and address bias (conscious and unconscious).

5. Question unspoken rules.

  • The Board of Directors regularly notify each other and discuss questionable job postings, promotional materials, and events.

  • We are working on communicating on calling-out job postings, events, and promotional materials that are not diverse or promote diversity.

  • We will work on how we can help other identify and question unspoken rules through our Slack channels and community.

6. Acknowledge and address the impacts of historical and ongoing exploitation in the geosciences.

  • We will work on identifying historical and current exploitation in the geosciences and how best we can contribute.

7. Acknowledge environmental injustice in geoscience.

  • We will work on identifying environmental injustice in geoscience and how best we can contribute.

8. Acknowledge the inequities inherent to fieldwork while affirming that cutting-edge geoscience happens in many different spaces.

  • In Slack, we regularly discuss and share articles and interviews about work-life balance, especially when in the field while raising families.

  • We will include more marginalized racial, neuro-diverse, physically-diverse, and LGBTQ+ experiences.

9. Address issues of workplace culture that are active threats to safety, wellbeing, and careers, and acknowledge, address, and promote the safety and success of minoritized geoscientists and students.

  • We regularly share articles, interviews, and our experiences in the workplace and in the field. Check out our “Career support” and “For students and young pros” Slack channels.

  • We will include more marginalized racial, neuro-diverse, physically-diverse, and LGBTQ+ experiences.

  • We will advocate for safer practices in both the field and office settings to better protect minoritized geoscientists.

10. Actively advocate and create accountability for income parity for minoritized geoscientists.

  • In Slack, we regularly share and discuss marginalized people’s income discrepancies in both industry and academia and the impact it has on their lives and careers.

  • We will brainstorm how to talk about income parity and advocate for income parity for minoritized geoscientists.

11. Actively diversify nominations and award committees.

  • The Board of Directors occasionally provides or nominates people for awards. We recognize that nominations tend to lack diversity in our industry and we strive to nominate outstanding people from minoritized groups.

  • We will document and review our nominations procedures and work on extending nominations beyond our network.

12. Actively recruit minoritized geoscientists as journal editors, reviewers, and conference organizers.

  • We actively seek out and hire socially responsible caterers for our in-person events.

  • We are currently working towards providing our content in French.

  • We actively work to nominate minoritized geoscientists as conference organizers, session chairs, and workshop leaders and use our network to nominate minoritized geoscientists for editorial and review positions.

13. Directly sponsor networking events for minoritized geoscientists.

  • We regularly share events in our Slack “Events” channel and will continue to ensure networking events for marginalized groups are promoted.

  • We will review our contacts with other organizations and expand our network to ensure it includes minoritized groups.

14. Publish annual reports of our activities and reflections of our members

  • We have started posting on Twitter our weekly highlights from our Slack channels.

  • We have written blog posts to summarize our yearly activities and will make sure these are easily accessible on our webpage.

15. Demand that “diversity” topics no longer be relegated to non-technical sessions but are a part of all discussions.

  • We will review our Inclusive Conference Initiative and ensure that we advocate for “diversity” topics to be part of the main stage.

  • In addition, this initiative demands that speakers, chairs, and organizers of technical programs are diverse and represent marginalized groups.

Again, we are working on the language of this new action plan for WGC and would appreciate any feedback you have. You can reach us at womengeoscientistscanada@gmail.com.


We look forward to sharing our updated mission webpage at the end of the summer and hope that you, your families, your loved ones, your friends all stay safe and healthy.

In closing, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia has shared this pledge and message. We urge you to pledge with us and share it within your communities.


Take care,

Sarah, Diana, Jenna, Farzaneh, Ken, and Vicki

The WGC Board of Directors


© 2020 by WGC

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon