iau2101 — Press Release

Cover of the Springboard to Action document
11 January 2021
IAU Kickstarts Action on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

The IAU has today published the document Springboard to Action, which outlines concrete actions that can be taken by individuals, national members, and national organisations to improve equity, inclusion and diversity in Astronomy.

Springboard to Action builds on the discussions carried out at IAU Symposium 358 on “Astronomy for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion — a roadmap to action within the framework of the IAU centennial anniversary” held in Tokyo, Japan in 2019 that brought together 124 participants from 31 different countries. This document is a legacy of the IAU’s centenary celebrations, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), and the activities of the IAU Working Group on Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion. It also expands on the IAU’s Code of Conduct and the IAU 2020–2030 Strategic Plan.

The mission of the IAU is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects (including research, communication, education, and development) through international cooperation. A key development has been the establishment of the four IAU Offices to support the IAU mission and work towards the diverse and representative global astronomical community it envisions. 

The IAU has been active in equity, inclusion and diversity for many years, starting with its travel grants to enhance diverse participation at IAU scientific meetings. More recent highlights of the IAU’s efforts include Inspiring Stars, an itinerant exhibit on astronomy for inclusion, Hands in the Stars, the first international comparative list of astronomical words in sign languages, several projects on astronomy for the visually impaired, sign language and captioning of talks at IAU symposia, the IAU100 global projects carried out in 143 countries with the specific IAU100 theme “Inclusive Astronomy” supporting events like the IAU100 Women and Girls in Astronomy, NameExoWorlds, and Astronomy Day in Schools, and IYA2009 activities such as the Galileoscope project. 

The IAU is committed to creating an environment of equity, inclusion and diversity through the promotion and implementation of policies, structures, and programmes that ensure access and opportunity to every individual who aspires to participate in astronomy and astrophysics. Realisation of this goal requires everyone’s involvement, from students to educators to research professionals. Springboard to Action sets out recommendations for improving and promoting equity, inclusion and diversity.

IAU National and Individual Members are encouraged to work with their governmental organisations to support sustainable structural changes in favour of equity, inclusion and diversity, e.g., from gathering statistics in Astronomy to scholarships that support these goals. 

Equity, inclusion, and diversity throughout all our activities in education and research will ensure that astronomy remains innovative and vibrant, and a truly global science” says IAU Division C President Susana Deustua. 

A particular strength of the IAU is its worldwide network: let's make sure we use it to the fullest to achieve a more diverse and inclusive astronomical community” adds IAU President Ewine van Dishoeck.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together almost 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education, and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The objective of the IAU Working Group on Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion is to address the systemic structure, functions, processes, and attitudes that result in the exclusion or restricted participation of underrepresented groups in the field of astronomy. In 2012 the WG was formed within Commission C1 Astronomy Education and Development, and in 2019 it became a working group of the IAU Executive Committee.



Susana Deustua
President of Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage
Email: deustua@stsci.edu

Amelia Ortiz-Gil
Chair of Executive Committee WG Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion
Email: amelia.ortiz@uv.es

Ewine van Dishoeck
President of the IAU
Email: ewine@strw.leidenuniv.nl

Lina Canas
Co-Chair of Executive Committee WG Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion, International Outreach Coordinator, IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3966
Email: lina.canas@nao.ac.jp

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621
Email: lars@eso.org


Cover of the Springboard to Action document