Nicole Lazar introduces the IMS Committee on Equality and Diversity, which she chairs:
Around a year and a half ago, in summer 2020, then-IMS President Regina Liu convened a new Committee on Equality and Diversity. The charge of the Committee, broadly speaking, was to serve as a sounding-board and focal point for issues surrounding the diversity of IMS. Our first item of business was to understand the composition of IMS membership, and to that end we came up with a first version of the survey that was to be sent out to members. Working with other groups, we arrived at the final version that all of you received — and we hope you filled out!
Over the course of the year, we had many productive conversations about the various aspects of diversity in IMS. In addition to gender and the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences, IMS also faces challenges in sector diversity (most members are in academia), and in age diversity (members tend to skew older). So, how do we remain — or become more — relevant for younger members? As an international organization, IMS benefits from geographical diversity. Historically, IMS has represented applied and theoretical statisticians and probabilists. However, data science and machine learning currently play an increasingly large role in statistics and probability, such that these fields should also be considered by IMS’s future offerings. In short: diversity within IMS is multi-faceted.
The committee would like to explore ways of expanding all aspects of diversity within IMS, but particularly attracting underrepresented groups and younger people, as these are the future of the profession. Many of our colleagues around the world are involved in activities that foster opportunities for those groups. If you know of such — conferences, annual workshops, training programs — let us know. We are interested in learning about what our members are doing along these lines. As we gather information on resources, we can make that available to the IMS community as a whole, to crowdsource a database of activities worldwide.
In addition, the Committee on Equality and Diversity welcomes suggestions from members on activities and initiatives that we could undertake over the next few years. If you have ideas, please email me, Nicole Lazar, at email@example.com. And if there is a project that is close to your heart, and you’d like to volunteer to work on it, please also feel free to let me know. We may not be able to implement all initiatives, but we will consider all suggestions from the membership.