The history of women in science is one of injustice. Frequently, women’s names have been removed from their research, only due to not being male. Globally, female scientists have been leading innovative research for years. In science today, there are more women than ever in many scientific disciplines, sometimes outnumbering men. Yet, women represent just 29% of researchers globally, and their work rarely gains the recognition it deserves. Women are known to be more collaborative, especially in negotiations, and may pay more attention to disadvantaged groups as well as nature. This is essential to solve today’s challenges. The women we feature are great scientists who also value diversity and inclusion.
Professor of Environmental Politics and Policy
Michele Betsill is a founding member of the Earth System Governance Project, a global social science network of scholars working at the interface of governance and global environmental change. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations and global environmental politics at Colorado State University, in Fortcollins, a city situated at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Her research focuses on global environmental governance, with a particular emphasis on the role of non-state and sub-national actors in creating new mechanisms for steering society towards a more sustainable future. In 2017, she wrote an essay on Trump’s Paris withdrawal and the reconfiguration of global climate change governance in the Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment. Although most of her work has focused on climate change, Betsill has recently become interested in issues of natural resource extraction and marine conservation.
Indian environmentalist and political activist
An active participant in civil society, Sunita Narain is director general of the Delhi-based not-for-profit research and advocacy organisation: Centre for Science and Environment. You might remember her from Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary Before The Flood, where she talks about the impact of climate change on the monsoon in India and how it affects farmers. Narain started working for the think tank in 1982, and has been studying the relationship between environment and development ever since. Her research interests range from global democracy, with a special focus on climate change, to the need for local democracy, within which she has worked both on forest-related resource management and water-related issues. In the 80’s, Narain traveled across India to understand people’s management of natural resources. She has been working relentlessly to create public consciousness about the need for sustainable development her entire career.
Geoscientist, climate scientist
Aradhna Tripati is the founder of the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, a university center that aims to grow and nurture diverse leaders who solve environmental problems and create pathways to sustainability by investing in student scientific retention, provide mentorship, and develop collaborative research and teaching environment. Her lifelong goals include advancing new geochemical tracers for the study of Earth system processes, studying the history and dynamics of climate change, and working to educate, recruit, and retain a diverse population into environmental science and geoscience. Tripati is not only ambitious, she also excels at what she does: researching and teaching about climate change; the history and dynamics of changing Earth systems including climate, ice sheets, oceans, the water cycle, carbon dioxide levels; tool development; and clumped isotope geochemistry. Rightfully so, she has already received loads of awards for her work.
PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Co-creator of Reclaiming STEM
Once an undocumented scientist living in the USA, Evelyn Valdez-Ward studies how drought affects the interactions between plants and their soil microbes at the University of California, Irvine. Through this work, she has found that a diversity of plant communities improve their ecosystem’s resilience to the effects of drought. Likewise, she believes that the diversity of STEM academic environments is essential in order to produce a resilient scientific community. That’s why she created ‘Reclaiming STEM’, a workshop that provides training for diverse scientists to learn how to communicate their science, and aimed specifically for marginalized scientists who may identify as underrepresented minorities, first generation, of different abilities, or LGBTQ+. Through this workshop, Valdez-Ward and her team have built a new community for marginalized scientists to learn to advocate for their communities and science through research.