ESB Diversity-Inclusion and Membership – data post

The ESB’s Diversity-Inclusion and Membership Committee presented these data on gender and geographical breakdown of our membership at the General Assembly, 13th July 2021, at the online conference hosted by Politecnico Milano.

The first graph (Fig 1) offers a perspective on the growth of the society, even under pandemic conditions, with 125 approved applications for membership since July 2020.

Figure 1. ESB Membership numbers since 1991

As ESB does not require date of birth information from our members, we are able to offer insights based on membership category, whether student, active, senior (professionally retired) and honorary. In common with many other surveys of gender balance in STEM careers, this shows (Fig. 2) that the proportion of women reduces with the seniority of the category. It is not clear whether this represents a steady-state “leaky pipeline” situation or whether the changes in gender representation at junior levels are now gradually also bringing change at more senior career stages.

Figure 2. Gender balance with membership category: student, active, senior (professionally retired) and honorary

The ESB is responsible for a number of competitively awarded honours to our members. The gender balance of these (Fig. 3) reflects the lower proportion of women in our membership at senior career levels, and the higher proportion amongst our student members. The proportion of women chosen to give a Perspective Talk (a competitive process run jointly by the Society’s Council and the conference organisers) was similar to the proportion in the applications for Perspective Talks (data not shown) but is notably lower than the proportion of women in active membership.

Figure 3. Gender profile of competitive awards

The geographical distribution of our membership (Fig. 4) continues to be broad with major representation from European countries and also a wide dispersion.

Figure 4. Geographical distribution of ESB membership. Left: major representation. Right: breakdown of “Other”

The geographical breakdown of applicants since July 2020 (Fig. 5) shows that even with a virtual ESB congress the host nation sees the largest expansion in membership.

Figure 5. Geographical distribution of new members approved since July 2020. Left: major representation. Right: breakdown of “Other”