In 1977, the United Nations declared 8th March as International Women’s Day. A day where we celebrate all the amazing women in our lives. From our closest family, friends and colleagues to those women we never get to meet in person but inspire us through the causes they lead we celebrate you all today.
With a world full of inspirational women it’s impossible to cover everyone who inspires us to do more to protect biodiversity, but here are just a few our team wanted to showcase:
Dr. Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to conservation. Her love of animals took her to Africa in 1960 to Gombe, Tanzania, to study chimpanzees. There she lived close to them in the forests so she could study their behaviour. Her innovative scientific process has vastly improved our understanding of how chimpanzees live and the role that we humans play in the balance of the natural world. In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JDI) which continues her research today. Dr Goodall’s Roots & Shoots programme has been empowering aspiring conservationists since 1991 and is in over 60 countries worldwide.
Dr. Goodall is a conservationist, environmentalist, humanitarian, author, speaker, UN Messenger of Peace and continues to travel the world telling people about the importance of the natural world and spreading her message of hope.
Sue Sheward visited the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre for orphaned orangutans whilst on holiday on the tropical island of Borneo. Seeing the orangutans in their natural rainforest habitat motivated Sue to establish the Orangutan Appeal UK. The charity, founded in 2002, raises funds to support the rehabilitation of little orangutans. They have either been rescued from the illegal pet trade or lost their mothers to deforestation and palm oil plantations in the area. The first project the Orangutan Appeal UK funded was a new nursery for the little orphans. The nursery helps them learn the skills they will need to survive and thrive in the forest.
Proudly, the Orangutan Appeal UK is the first Non governmental Organisation (NGO) to be accepted by the Malaysian authorities. Awarded an MBE in 2011 for her work, Sue has been dedicated to the charity for over twenty years and has helped hundreds of orangutans to return to the wild.
Razan Al Mubarak
Razan Al Mubarak is the current president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She is the first female president from Asia and the second woman to lead the organisation since it began in 1948. The IUCN is the global authority on the natural world and what is needed to protect it. Razan studied international relations and environmental studies at universities in the United Sates and the United Kingdom. Currently Managing Director of Emirates Nature-WWF, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD). She has already supported over 2,000 species conservation projects in over two decades of conservation activities. Razan is also champion of rewilding and was part of one of the most ambitious mammalian species reintroduction programs in the world; reintroducing Scimitar-horned oryx back into the wild.
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai
Professor Wangarĩ Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977. GBM is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) focusing on tree-planting, environmental conservation and women’s rights in Kenya.
The first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize, Professor Maathai was awarded the prize in 2004 for her ‘contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace’. She was also the first environmentalist to receive the award. Professor Maathai studied Biological Sciences and Veterinary Anatomy and served as a Member of Parliament in Kenya as assistant minister for environment and natural resources. She was an environmental activist, academic, politician and author. Her Green Belt Movement spread across Africa and is now the ***Pan-African Green Belt Network which combats desertification, deforestation, water crises and hunger in rural areas.
In 2012, the year after her death, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests launched the Wangarĩ Maathai Forest Champion Award to honour her memory. This prize is awarded to people who have been outstanding in their actions of preserving, restoring and sustainably managing forests. It also raises awareness of the important role forests have in supporting local communities, rural livelihoods, women and the environment.
Dr. Henintsoa Onivola Minoarivelo
Dr. Henintsoa Onivola Minoarivelo is a theoretical ecologist who recognises the threat of climate change to biodiversity, and for that matter, humanity. Described as one of the most pressing challenges of our times, Dr. Minoarivelo is tackling this issue using computer simulations and mathematical modelling. She is researching the effects of climate change on plants, animals and the environment.
Dr. Minoarivelo is an award winning scientist . She was awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Young Talent Award for her research. She continues to inspire young women to follow careers in science and says she wants to encourage them to work for the benefit of the global community. Her advice is to “think globally, rather than locally, as much as possible.”
Extincts CIC want to mobilise the next generation of animal protectors by engaging kids of all genders in fun, safe, digital experiences that let them explore endangered animals in the palm of their hand. We believe showcasing women in conservation can inspire the next generation to do so as well.