Equity and Diversity in Demography and Demographic Research

In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that there is a need for greater equity and diversity in demography and demographic research. While some progress has been made over the last few decades, there is still considerable room for improvement. For example, while the 75th anniversary special issue of Population Studies highlights the many strengths of demography and population studies, it also highlights the ways that certain people—their bodies and their voices—have been marginalised in our discipline. This is an ongoing issue that not only has consequences for our community but also for the quality and scope of our research. Demographers are not alone among scientists calling for tangible actions that generate greater equity and diversity, as well as using this to improve research. However, we lack forums and initiatives to achieve this, not least because we are a small discipline with limited resources.

What is the aim of this new working group?

We propose to set up a new EAPS Working Group that can become a ‘forum for action’ and a ‘catalyst for change’. The group has two main objectives:

  1. To support and promote equity and diversity in demography as a community of people
  2. To support and promote diversity in demography as an academic discipline

The working group will also seek to gain a greater understanding of the connections between demography as a community and demography as a discipline, such that we anticipate the benefits of trying to address these two objectives simultaneously.

What is demography, its community, and its practice?

To promote inclusivity, we define ‘demography’ broadly, including population studies and all related topics. Our community includes all those who are active in the field, including teachers, administrators, researchers, academics, non-academics, and anyone who supports the production, dissemination and curation of knowledge relating to demography and population studies. Our practice includes all activities undertaken by members of the community, including data collection, administration, research, teaching, learning, as well as organisation and participation in events such as workshops, seminars and conferences.

How will the group achieve its aims?

We propose that the first meeting of the group would be at EPC 2024 in Scotland. This will be an opportunity for people to meet face-to-face, to share thoughts and ideas regarding how we can meet our objectives, and to promote future activities (including participation). After the first meeting, we will begin a suite of activities. The exact form of these will be organic, and develop over time, which is why we are keen for as many people as possible to get involved in the group and play a part in setting our agenda. Please get in touch and help us to improve the health of our discipline.

We are starting to build a mailing list for the group, so if you would like to be part of that, then please contact us at: eapsequity@outlook.com. Please note that you are also welcome to contact us directly with any suggestions, including if you would like to volunteer to help organise specific activities. In addition, we have prepared a short anonymous online survey where we ask for comments and suggestions about the group and its priorities. It would be great if you could respond to the survey, and we welcome all types of suggestions, including those that are critical of the status quo (or any aspects of this initiative). As you may imagine, we are keen to hear from as many different voices as possible!

Details of the first in-person meeting at EPC 2024

Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Room LG.09, 40 George Square, Edinburgh


13:00-13:15Welcome and introduction
13:15-14:00Discussion about the scope of the group and its priorities
14:15-15:00Participants choose to discuss one of three topics in separate groups:
1- Equity and diversity in teaching and learning
2- Equity and diversity in the research that we do
3- Opportunities and barriers in our careers and institutions
15:00-15:30Reflection on discussions and next steps: in subgroups
15:30-16:00Reflection on discussions and next steps: all together
16:00End of meeting