Zero Discrimination Day: Arindam Mitra

Posted on March 1, 2024   by Microbiology Society

Zero Discrimination Day takes place annually on 1 March, bringing awareness to the importance of inclusion and acceptance of all people, regardless of our differences in race, gender, abilities or socio-economic background. To celebrate the day, this year we caught up with Members Panel member and Champion, Arindam Mitra, who highlights why Zero Discrimination Day is important to him and gives advice on how to incorporate it’s initiatives.

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Could you tell me a bit more about yourself?

I am Arindam Mitra, a professor of microbiology, currently heading the Department of Biological Sciences at Adamas University, India. I am a member of the Microbiology Society's Members Panel, a Society Champion, editorial board member of Microbiology Today and member of the Society’s Sustainability Committee.

It’s Zero Discrimination Day on 1 March; why do you think it’s important to highlight this day?

The theme for this year’s Zero Discrimination Day is to protect everyone's health and protect everyone's rights. Observed annually on 1 March, it is an important opportunity to raise awareness about the negative effects of discrimination and to promote equality and inclusion for all; regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or any other characteristics. The day is a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to fight discrimination and promote equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of life.  

Are there any specific projects you are working on or committees you sit on that currently promote the zero discrimination initiatives?

Microbiologists from historically marginalised communities form the Members Panel to aid the Society in making its activities more inclusive. I joined the Members Panel to help promote diversity and inclusivity in microbiology. As a member of this group, I can make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of positive changes. By bringing together historically marginalised members, the Members Panel broadens the decision-making pool. The Panel discusses topics such as the use of pronouns, accessibility and gender representation. The co-Chairs work with the General Secretary's Group to address EDI at the highest levels of the Society’s governance.

In your career so far, do you believe that you have experienced any discrimination?

Discrimination can come in many forms and not necessarily only from a position of power. Discrimination based on race, age and gender is still prevalent in many parts of the world. Such discrimination can be minimised as far as possible by creating awareness and action around it. In this regard, zero discrimination initiatives can be a way forward towards a safe and equitable future.

What advice would you give to colleagues in your field who may have experienced discrimination and may want to be an ally in the fight against discrimination?

It is important to help marginalised people and communities by amplifying their voices, advocating for their decision-making, participation and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.

What has been the greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

I have always held the belief that life is an ongoing process of development. Contributing to the microbiology community and Society through research, teaching and service has been inherently fulfilling.

How has being a member of the Society’s Members Panel enabled you to make a positive impact in promoting equality and combating discrimination?

As a member of the Microbiology Society's Members Panel, I can use my influence and expertise to promote positive changes regarding EDI initiatives in microbiology and beyond.

How would you like to inspire others to bring awareness to Zero Discrimination Day in the future?

We can create a more inclusive and compassionate world by encouraging others to participate in Zero Discrimination Day and raising awareness year-round through campaigns, promoting EDI initiatives in the workplace and advocating for policy and institutional reforms that address systemic discrimination.

To find out more about the Society's work on EDI, take a look at our EDI initiatives page.

Thumbnail image credit: Arindam Mitra