Pride and Progress: Why Science and Technology thrive with diversity

By Lea May N. Caburatan, USTP System STRATCOMM

This June, the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) recognizes the observation of Pride Month.

In its efforts to advance a sustainable future, USTP is committed to achieving sustainable development goals. Several actions, activities, and policies have been implemented to reduce inequality and ensure that quality education is accessible to all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. In December 2023, the USTP System, through its Board of Regents, approved its gender equality and sensitivity policy. Authored by Dr. Ma. Elena L. Paulma, former Vice President for Academic Affairs, this comprehensive anti-discrimination policy ensures a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff.

The Gender Equality and Sensitivity Policy: What is it?

The Gender Equality and Sensitivity Policy aims to create mechanisms and strategies to foster inclusivity and gender-responsiveness in all aspects of the university’s operations. The policy prohibits all forms of discrimination across the system and fosters equal opportunities for all its members, regardless of gender. It also seeks to raise awareness and stimulate conversations on inclusivity, equality, and human rights, recognizing diverse gender expressions and representations.

This is manifested through inclusive language, non-discriminatory admissions and recruitment policies, work-life balance policies, gender-based research and data collection, awareness activities, and preventive and redress interventions.

The policy aims to set guidelines that promote non-discriminatory and gender-responsive programs, creating equal opportunities for university constituents of all gender identities.

Empowering Women Building a Stronger Community Together
Breaking Down Barriers

For the University, this wasn’t just the right thing to do – it was a strategic decision. Here’s why:

  • Diversity Breeds Innovation: Science thrives on a multitude of perspectives. When we create a space where everyone feels empowered to contribute their unique ideas, we unlock a wellspring of creativity. LGBTQ+ individuals bring fresh viewpoints and experiences to the table, leading to groundbreaking research and innovation. 
  • A Level Playing Field for Excellence: Discrimination stifles potential. By eliminating prejudice, we ensure that the brightest minds, regardless of background, can flourish. This fosters a culture of excellence, where success is based on merit, not identity.
  • Building the Future, Together: The world’s most pressing challenges – from climate change to disease – require solutions from a global community. Fostering inclusivity allows us to collaborate with the best minds, regardless of location or identity. This is how we build a brighter future for everyone.

The USTP Community advocates equality, fairness, human rights, and the recognition of diversity, including diverse gender identities and expressions. In the 2024 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Ranking, the university ranked 301-400 among 2,152 universities from 125 participating countries/regions under SDG 5: Gender Equality. Beyond international recognition, the system continues to create inclusive environments where individuals of all gender identities can thrive, free from discrimination and inequality, and have equal rights, opportunities, and access to resources.

At USTP, we believe that scientific progress and social progress are intertwined. Prejudice is a barrier to discovery, while inclusion is the key to unlocking human potential. We recognize that much remains to be done for diversity to be more than just a buzzword.

This Pride Month, we recognize the LGBTQ+ community and recommit ourselves to fostering a vibrant, inclusive environment where all can thrive. Together, let’s create a world where the power of diversity and inclusion fuels scientific progress.