My guilty secret is that I like to browse Quora, and occasionally answer some questions. One question I wrote an answer for, was "What is it like to get a PhD when you grew up in a poor family?". Below I reproduce the answer I gave, explaining that while I wouldn't have considered myself poor by the standards of the time, I probably would be now. I also wouldn't have been able to get a PhD if I had been born twenty years later, it just wouldn't have been feasible.
For some time, whenever I went to a conference or workshop, I would ask the PhD-holding researchers I got to know, what their parents did for a living. In almost every case, their parents were professionals of some description. The number of researchers who had working-class parents, like I did, were very, very small.
This very unscientific polling leads me to believe that while improvements are being made in the diversity of researchers with respect to race and gender, the impediments caused by class to access to higher education, and ultimately becoming a researcher, are still there. It is already hard for working-class kids to access tertiary education, and the current pandemic is exacerbating that inequality. But what can we do about it?
Below is the answer I gave to the Quora question above.