GITA Adopts Policy on Diversity and Inclusion
Friday, December 19, 2014
St. Paul, Minnesota, December 19, 2014 – The Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) is pleased to announce that during the December 16, 2014 meeting of its Board of Directors, the Association has adopted a policy on diversity and inclusion. The unanimous vote came after a series of board discussions during the past year led to creation of a work group which examined how diversity is becoming increasingly important as the demographics of the workforce and profession are changing. Meeting between August and October of 2014, the work group developed the tenets of the policy, as well as best practices for expanding diversity in GITA’s membership. Co-chaired by Dr. Rachel Arulaj and Elizabeth Bialek, the other members of the work group were: Jessica Barnabei, Megan Hicks, Eric Hoogenraad, Susanna Jackson, Adrien Roth, and Juliana Wafula.
As adopted, the policy is intended to highlight two broad themes. First, diversity has many community wide benefits. Diversity expands the perspective of any group, and thus enhances problem solving, which is particularly important in geospatial professions. Like many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, geospatial professions require an on-going stream of talent, and therefore it is imperative to encourage as many people as possible to pursue careers in GIS. Second, in order to grow as an association, it is important to embrace the unique backgrounds, perspectives, beliefs and experience of people and create an environment where people can bring their full selves and be valued for what makes them unique. Diversity and inclusion are the keys to achieving this goal.
In recognition of these realities, the GITA Board voted to take a leadership position on this issue by formally acknowledging that diversity requires an ongoing and active commitment to the inclusion of a wide range of people. The GITA Board noted that the geospatial industry is significantly under-represented by women and minorities, and felt strongly that active efforts are needed to achieve a more equitable workforce in both STEM and allied disciplines. Crafting of the policy is seen an important first step in GITA’s conscious decision to begin efforts to help diversify the geospatial workforce.
GITA’s Policy Statement on Diversity and Inclusion is as follows:
The Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) supports and encourages the equitable opportunity for participation of all persons in the Geospatial field, including engineers, planners, surveyors, technologists, software developers, educators, operations and maintenance specialists and all others interested in geospatial technology without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender identification, accessibility, educational or financial differences. GITA will promote and implement programs designed to enhance opportunities to participate in the development of geospatial technologies worldwide for everyone.
Additional information about the effort can be found on GITA’s website under “About GITA – Diversity”. Individuals interested in participating in GITA’s work group on Diversity and Inclusion should contact Elizabeth Bialek, P.E. at firstname.lastname@example.org.