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Initiative for Women Marine Scientists

© Mauritius Oceanography Institute
Dr Moothien Pillay and colleagues of the Mauritius Oceanography Institute engage in fieldwork.

Marine science is as vast as the ocean, and research on the ocean – that is, oceanography – has united biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geochemistry, geology, geophysics, computer and electronic engineering, marine instrumentation and other disciplines in investigations of the marine environment. Though women have succeeded in breaking into many previously male-dominated fields in recent years, it is still unusual to find them in marine science and technology careers.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in ocean science, to assure that women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunities to realize their full human rights and potential. Gender equality is the equal valuing by society of both the similarities and the differences between women and men and the different roles they play. Targeted measures are often needed to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise being equals. These measures, such as affirmative action, may necessitate different treatment of women and men in order to ensure an equal outcome.

In particular, IOC-UNESCO would like to promote the equal presence of men and women in the marine sciences community. The first step is promoting activites that include women in science, and promoting women scientists as role models for young women.

To this end, women that have dedicated their lives to marine sciences and to the protection of the marine environment have agreed to share their stories, and to help us understand how IOC-UNESCO can work together with them in the promotion of gender equality. Through this project, we hope to encourage young women to pursue careers in science and in particular, science related to the ocean.

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