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Remedying the persistent underrepresentation of women in geospatial sciences
Women play a vital role in local environmental management and decision making. Yet, they are particularly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and consequently in related careers. The gender disparity is alarming especially in the Earth observation (EO) and geospatial information technology (GIT) sector in Asia, particularly in the HKH region.
To bridge this gap and contribute towards a gender-balanced GIT workforce in the region, we have sought highly qualified colleagues and now have four women professionals in our geospatial services team. We’ve also been organizing training especially targeting early career professional women and students, to orient them towards careers in the GIT field. Gender equity is the overall aim of these targeted training opportunities where we’ve seen tremendous interest and highly competitive application processes. In its second iteration, the training on empowering women in GIT brought together 40 women participants in Kathmandu, in June 2019.
We support meaningful growth opportunities for women professionals, encourage women professionals to participate in and contribute to relevant training events, and promote authorship and mentorship opportunities for women. Ten out of 18 resource persons at the June 2019 training on GIT were women and a total of 143 women participated in such events in 2019.
Into the future, we intend to extend the GIT training to other HKH counties, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan and to conduct tracer studies to understand how many women attending the training have pursued careers in GIT.
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