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Pasha 109: Ecology research has a huge gap: the work of women and the global South

Ecology is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and the environment around them. It is an important branch of study, exploring how animals, plants, the land, climate and humans are interconnected. But a study of 13 leading journals in ecology over 75 years has shown that in this field, women researchers are seriously under-represented. So are countries in the global South – even those with excellent scientists. Kenya and South Africa were the only African countries represented among the authors in these journals. And only 11% of the authors were women.

This is important because the world cannot afford to neglect the perspectives and experiences of women and global South researchers in addressing the global climate and environmental crisis. A more balanced view is needed to inform practical interventions.

Bea Maas, a lecturer at the department of botany and biodiversity research at the Universität Wien, is one of the study’s authors. In today’s episode of Pasha, she discusses this imbalance in ecology research and what to do about it. People in the scientific community should start by assessing themselves and their institutions, to look for bias and under-representation. When foreign scientists work in the global South, they should actively collaborate with local scientists and local experts.

“Concept of ecology. Imprint of human footprint in nature” by urfin found on Shutterstock

Music: “Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.

“Mama Africa” by UFO found on licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) 3.0 International License..

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