A Manifesto for Inclusivity in Category Theory and Mathematics at large.

1. We believe in inclusivity, that is, a policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded, disadvantaged, or marginalised.

2. Some groups are under-represented or are a minority in our community, and this is not evidence that they are less worthy.

3. We acknowledge many ways in which people can be unfairly disadvantaged in our community including, but not limited to:

gender and gender identity, race and ethnicity, sexuality, disability, native language, country, culture, socioeconomic status, institution, seniority, juniority, job title, access to grants.

4. We believe in actively working together to counteract these disadvantages, and that all action is valuable.

5. We believe in the value of a wide range of contributions to our community besides research, including, but not limited to:

– exposition
– teaching
– mentoring
– organising conferences.

6. We recognise that we are all more advantaged than some people and less advantaged than some other people.  We commit to acknowledging our own advantages and compassionately supporting those who experience disadvantages different from our own.


Manifesto for Inclusivity by Eugenia Cheng is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Support for LGBTQ+ Mathematicians

Invisible minorities and visible minorities suffer in different ways in normative communities. Spectra is an organisation for LGBTQ+ mathematicians and their allies to find and show support where they might otherwise be invisible. The page includes an Out List and an Ally List, and I urge those who wish to show support to sign up if they feel able. I think it is especially important for there to be active support from senior mathematicians, while junior ones may feel nervous about their positions.

Small Achievable Contributions

It can be daunting to take action if you think the action has to be huge. However, when it comes to inclusivity I believe that tiny steps can really help. This is because I know that tiny negative things build up to have a big impact on under-represented people, and so tiny steps to counteract those negative things can have a big impact in the opposite direction.

I will try to compile a list here of steps that one can take. This list is in no particular order and is not comprehensive.

  • Sign up to the Out List or the Ally List on the Spectra website as above.
  • Make an effort to introduce yourself to new people at conferences, especially those you know to be from under-represented or marginalised groups.
  • Remember that some marginalised groups are from invisible minorities, that is, that you can’t immediately tell by looking at someone.
  • Allow people from less represented groups to speak before you in question time, group discussions and meetings. (They often need more time to get up the courage to speak, because of social threat.)
  • Amplify the voices of marginalised/under-represented/disadvantaged people by vocally supporting them in difficult discussions, especially involving less inclusively minded people.
  • Intervene if you see people behaving non-inclusively (even if it’s a passing comment), such as making hetero-normative assumptions, or using gendered insults (even if it’s about third parties).
  • …to be continued.