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19 Jun 2018 | Cryosphere

Institutional Recognition for Promoting Women in Glaciology Research in the HKH

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Gunjan Silwal, Tika Gurung, Anna Sinisalo, Maxime Litt, Sharad Joshi, Inka Koch. Photo: Chimi Seldon

Since its inception in 2011, the Cryosphere Initiative at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has made a conscious effort to be more inclusive in its recruiting process to create a gender balanced team. Women lead most of the senior roles in the initiative and female scientists have been leading at least half of high altitude field expeditions, conducted in collaboration with national and international partners. As a direct result of this conscious effort, the Cryosphere Initiative was presented with ICIMOD’s gender innovation award during its 8th March International Women’s Day celebration, themed “Press for Progress: Closing the Gender Gap in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).”

The gender innovation award recognizes the long-term efforts of the Cryosphere Initiative team to close gender gaps in research and science. This year’s award aimed to recognize how themes, programmes, and initiatives have empowered women and ensured gender equality in teams. It looked at the gender inclusivity of the implementation process and how this has contributed to gender equity. Towards these ends, the Cryosphere Initiative includes a gender perspective and factors in its capacity building activities and in recruiting processes, giving due consideration to women’s competencies and capacities and recognizing the value of diversity in the team.

Female students and scientists have been given opportunities to write blogs, op-eds, and other types of stories for wider audiences with the aim of increasing their visibility. Additionally, the initiative gives special attention to maintaining gender balance in nominating speakers for different events. For any event or activity, the target of female participation is 50%. The initiative also advocates gender inclusivity with its implementing partners in ICIMOD’s regional member countries to set the same target by encouraging them to nominate women participants in trainings organized by the initiative. Since cryosphere research in the HKH region is male-dominated, this inclusion of women, as well as female role models and female leadership can be important means to close the gender gap.


Some of the team members with the certificate, Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya

The team recognizes that there is still much to be done to encourage women scientists, especially from the HKH, to develop careers in this field, and continues to make conscious efforts to involve more women in the initiative by providing scholarships and training courses and by promoting the participation of women professionals from the region.

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