Blog / Julia Wagemann & Sabrina Szeto / February 12, 2020
This week, the world celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day initiated by the United Nations to promote the importance of gender equality in science. Worldwide, less than 30% of researchers in STEM-related subjects are women. This underrepresentation of women is mirrored in the field of Earth observations as well, as many professionals are graduates in geography, forestry, physics and ICT.
While there is a positive trend in women pursuing a PhD and gaining entry-level positions in the field of Earth observations, at some stage, women stagnate in their careers, they face more challenges than men to advance professionally, and it is still rare to see women holding leadership and decision making positions in the industry. This is something that Women in Geospatial+ wants to change.
Each of us can be a geospatial changemaker and leader.
Here are four tips from Women in Geospatial+ on how you can contribute to closing the gender-gap in the field of Earth Observations:
Women in Geospatial+ is a professional network that promotes gender-equality and celebrates diversity in Earth observations and the wider geospatial industry. Launched on Twitter one day before International Women’s Day in March 2019, our network has since grown into a vibrant and active community with more than 850 registered members globally, over 1000 followers on LinkedIn and 3300+ on Twitter.
The fast paced growth of our community is a sign that many of us are looking for opportunities to network and grow professionally while changing workplace cultures that may not be inclusive. Many of our members say that they are one of the few women in their workplace, or sometimes, the only woman.
This is where Women in Geospatial+ comes in. We connect women and other underrepresented genders in the geospatial field by providing a safe platform via our Slack community for open and honest communication. We promote and foster the professional development of our members by sharing geospatial news, job vacancies as well as tips about leadership and career development. We also launched a year-long career mentorship program in September 2019, bringing together 42 participants from 17 countries.
Our network is not only virtual. Throughout the year, we create opportunities to meet in person at geospatial conferences, where we regularly run sessions focused on career advancement, featuring the work and achievements of women geospatial leaders, and where we organise informal meetups. We have exciting events planned in 2020 including a Women in Geospatial+ breakfast at Geovation in London in March.
We invite GEO and all geospatial industry stakeholders to join us in our mission. The time is now to build an inclusive industry culture where people from underrepresented genders are able to do their best work. In this day and age, we simply cannot afford to accept the underrepresentation of women and other genders any longer.
Let’s make a change together to shape a strong and inclusive Earth Observation and geospatial industry.
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