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IEEE’s mission to foster technological innovation and excellence to benefit humanity requires the talents and perspectives of people with different personal, cultural, and technical backgrounds. In support of this mission—and to aid our members and volunteers—it is vital that members have a safe and inclusive place for collegial discourse and that all feel included and that they belong.

IEEE reinforced its support for diversity and inclusion in 2019 when the IEEE Board of Directors adopted the following: “IEEE is committed to advancing diversity in the technical profession, and to promoting an inclusive and equitable culture that welcomes, engages, and rewards all who contribute to the field, without regard to race, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

Last year the three presidents of IEEE emphasized that commitment with the following: “IEEE is, and remains, strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and we see no place for hatred and discrimination in our communities.”

Both statements reflect IEEE’s longstanding commitment to engage diverse perspectives for the betterment of the engineering profession and ensure a welcoming environment that equitably engages, supports, and recognizes the diverse individuals dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

I think it was very important for the organization to make these public statements, as it shows that IEEE believes that embracing diversity and inclusion as organizational values is a way to intentionally increase its ability to listen to, and empower all stakeholders.

SUPPORTING DIVERSITY

IEEE has supported diversity and inclusion for many years through numerous efforts and programs. A number of committees within IEEE have been doing important work in these areas over the past few years. Along with many other dedicated volunteers, 2019 IEEE President José M. F. Moura and Andrea Goldsmith, chair of the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Professional Ethics since its inception in 2019, were key leaders.

Building on this momentum, a new website launched this year contains a wealth of information, resources, and tools for members, volunteers, and the broader community. The site highlights ongoing efforts by various IEEE groups that are taking action to foster a diverse, equitable, and welcoming environment. I truly hope this website can help raise awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in creating technology to benefit humanity.

Another important step in IEEE’s collective journey toward an inclusive and equitable culture includes recent revisions to the IEEE Publications Services and Products Operations Manual. The revisions permit authors to change their preferred name—whether it be due to marriage or divorce, religious conversion, or gender alignment—IEEE will modify the metadata associated with their IEEE publications upon successful validation of the identity of the requesting author.

Given our mission, IEEE collaborates globally with all our stakeholders and must seek to maintain an open and inclusive platform for our authors. These revisions recognize the importance that authors place on managing their own name and identity.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CODES

An organization’s ethics speaks to how it supports diversity and inclusion. I am proud to say that IEEE is ahead of many professional societies in having a code of ethics and code of conduct, both of which were revised last year. These reviews and revisions were necessary because our policies had not been reexamined in many years. The updates incorporate high-level principles such as a commitment not to engage in harassment, and protecting the privacy of others. These changes reflect IEEE’s longstanding commitment to ensuring the engineering profession maximizes its impact and success by welcoming, engaging, and rewarding all those who contribute to the field in an equitable manner.

In addition, as part of IEEE’s commitment to meeting the highest standards of integrity, responsibility, and ethical behavior, the IEEE Board of Directors adopted a set of changes to the IEEE Bylaws and Policies to strengthen our Ethics and Member Conduct processes around reporting, mediation, adjudication, appealing, and sanctioning ethical misconduct. The new ethics reporting processes went into effect on 1 April.

The primary goals of the changes are to simplify the process for filing reports of misconduct, to increase the transparency of how IEEE handles complaints, and to expand the accessibility of the process and make it more inclusive. The time frame to report professional ethics violations has been increased from two years to five years from the date of the incident. These improvements reinforce the value IEEE places on holding our members and stakeholders to the highest ethical standards.

I am extremely proud of the good work that we have been accomplishing across IEEE to ensure that our environments are safe and that our members have collaborative and collegial places that promote the best technical discussions, where all voices are heard. I urge all IEEE’s entities to continue to work together to meet the growing expectations of members and other stakeholders for an inclusive and equitable culture that welcomes, engages, and rewards all who contribute to the field. Please share your thoughts with me at president@ieee.org.

The Conversation (8)
Craig Correa 14 Dec, 2021
M

Just as I would oppose and decline to support any entity that seeks to limit diversity among its ranks (except for the point of having a shared focus such as electrical engineering in the case of IEEE), I also oppose any entity, which includes the IEEE in this case, that focuses on the diversity of completely superficial attributes such as gender, nationality or race among its ranks.

I am unaware of any instances where IEEE members, societies, etc. have in recent decades engaged in overt or even covert “hatred and discrimination in our communities” as called out in this article.  Unless I am incorrect in that premise, to call such behavior out is therefore completely gratuitous and irrelevant and therefore abhorrent since it only serves only to discredit the IEEE as well as the author of those words in this context.  I reject all such rubbish.

Discredited to the core are any and all who upon being elevated to a position of authority, celebrate the notion that their personal and immutable attributes played any part in their being elevated. Rather, those that achieve an elevated new role should thank all that recognized them as having earned the role.  To suggest diversity played a part in being elevated only raises doubts as to whether or not the role was indeed earned.

It is far better for the IEEE to achieve diversity organically as individuals with diverse backgrounds choose on their own to invest their time, energy and good will.

1 Reply
Henry Roif 14 Dec, 2021
LS

I am saddened when a professional organization starts being having a political agenda with all this equality stuff, I have 4 engineering degrees under my belt; my Electronics bachelor was obtained in Perú (Section 9), in my 40 plus years as a professional I had colleagues as student, as professionals etc. I NEVER EVER had or felt or saw anything restricting access to anybody (In the 5 countries I have studied including the United States) due to race gender or anything alike including my personal perspective, I have colleagues women, black, Chinese, Japanese, Indian (Peruvian), gay etc. and NEVER SAW any discrimination, all this equality for me is a smoke curtain forced in part by the media.

John Colgan 14 Dec, 2021
LS

I agree with your comments Craig. I have been involved in IEEE for over 50 years and never experienced or witnessed any hatred or discrimination towards any member. DEI in today's society is being used to limit free speech and force individuals to think and act the same. This is a significant danger to our communities, societies, and to the organization as a whole. If the leaders of the IEEE believe in this reshaping of the IEEE, then we need new leaders.

Diversity of thought and opinion needs to be encouraged not diversity in attributes. Building membership has been a constant concern and requires inclusion of all qualified persons. There has never been a closed gate for new members or a limitation on participation by any member. Equity is what communism applies to the peasants. We need to promote Equality for All as a foundation for a free and just society.

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The Lies that Powered the Invention of Pong

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Pong arcade game in yellow cabinet containing black and white TV display, two knobs are labeled Player 1 and Player 2, Atari logo visible.
Roger Garfield/Alamy

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