Equity is a key piece of the Lab’s inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability, or IDEA, strategy. Equity is about opportunity parity. Everyone can participate in creating an equitable work environment at Berkeley Lab.
We asked Hans Bechtel, a research scientist at the ALS, for his thoughts on equity at the Lab.
Elements: How do you define equity?
Hans Bechtel: Changing culture is never a fast and easy process, but I believe IDEA is critical to the Lab mission of bringing scientific solutions to the world. Equity is an important part of the culture change. It is the fair treatment of everyone and the active removal of barriers that limit opportunities. Discrimination directly impacts performance, careers, and outlook.
Elements: How do you handle situations in which you’ve noticed that people are not treated equitably?
Hans: Situations are different, but I start with the question “why?” and then try to develop collaborative solutions to effect change.
Elements: What do you consider your personal role in making IDEA part of the culture at the Lab?
Hans: I cannot force others to change their behaviors, but I do have direct control over mine. Each day I strive to be more inclusive while working to recognize and overcome my implicit biases. I make mistakes, but I strive to learn from them and do better. My ultimate goal is a future where my children have equal opportunities to pursue success and happiness.