ERS Diversity and Inclusion

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) is committed to evolving to become an organisation that is diverse and inclusive in all aspects. At present, we recognise that women and other groups are underrepresented in leadership and in senior positions within medicine and science overall. These are facts that we are determined to see change.

Although the organisation’s origins began in Europe, the ERS membership now includes respiratory professionals from all parts of the world, representing the wide spectrum of disease areas and specialties relevant to respiratory medicine and science. Diversity is key to reflect this scientific excellence, and ERS is extremely proud of its diverse and high-quality membership, and remains committed to making greater strides to ensure the leadership reflects this.

Activities and opportunities to contribute

ERS has developed key working groups to better identify and address barriers that underrepresented groups face within respiratory medicine and science. Initiatives that ERS encourages members to become involved in to achieve these goals include:

  • Officer Excellence Programme – through this programme, ERS is training future leaders on key topics such as unconscious/implicit bias (prejudice), gender equality, intercultural communication, networking and mentoring, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • ERS Mentorship programme – ERS reaches out to committed ERS Early Career Members to help them define a career plan, and ERS fellowship programmes include mentorship opportunities for non-EU scientists and clinicians in close collaboration with ERS’s National Partner Societies.
  • ERS Women Leaders LinkedIn group – the purpose of the group is to provide a platform for the international respiratory community to share successes and challenges for women in medicine.

Long-term objectives

Going forwards, ERS aims to include faculty members of different ages, gender, background, specialties and from wider geographic regions, in order to better represent the diverse ERS membership. ERS has already made some progress by achieving and exceeding key annual goals:

  • Gender balance in ERS faculty (ERS reached almost 40% women faculty in 2018)
  • 20% of events programme faculty comes from outside of Europe
  • 50% of Chairpersons in poster discussion and thematic sessions aged under 40 years

ERS recognises there is more to be done to improve diversity and inclusivity across the Society without compromising quality and excellence, therefore ERS is taking action to empower and encourage specific groups to engage with the Society and help steer ERS to success. ERS is now setting out to review all its activities to ensure that, as much as possible, it is increasingly diverse across:

  • Nomination and election of officers
  • Faculty and organisers of events and activities
  • Selection of reviewers
  • Content of event programmes
  • Allocation of fellowships, awards, bursaries and grants
  • Terminology, imagery and communications

If you have any comments or questions please contact ERS: