Since we announced our first ever networking event in London we have had questions come in about why we are hosting our first event in London. We have also received expressions of interest to host similar events in other parts of the world. This is excellent and exactly the momentum we want to create.
Let me explain why London. Women4Oceans is a new nonprofit that is currently run without any funds (although we do expect this to change soon!) As founder of W4O, I am based in the Netherlands. London is near enough for me to manage and oversee the organization of the event and to attend myself without incurring excessive costs. Most importantly though, I have been able to recruit two volunteers (Angela Martin and Gerlinde Schaeffter) who are helping with the organisation through for example visiting the venue and outreach.
Moreover whilst it might seem that initiatives for women are not needed in developed countries, women are still hugely under represented at the top level. At most conferences less than a third of speakers are female and women face the same challenges to career progression. It is exactly because it is a developed country that this problem is often overlooked. We need such initiatives to stimulate social action from the bottom up. It's time we shift the unconscious notion that men are our leaders. If we keep listening to the same voices, how can we effectively come up with solutions?
The purpose of these networking evenings is to create a community of women working on fisheries and oceans. I am therefore very keen to have local or at least regional women represented at these events. At the London event for example we are very focused on UK speakers for the first evening. Our vision is that we host such events across the world so that we collectively tackle the most pressing issues facing our oceans whilst also finding effective ways forward as women in a largely male dominated space. With an all-female panel of speakers and a predominately female audience I want to lift the voices of women by encouraging contributions from those that may otherwise not be heard.
So far there is interest coming from Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa and the USA. If you want to see a Women4Oceans event in these or any other country or region please be in touch. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you have time to help organize such an event then do let us know!
Let’s grow the movement and show the global ocean community that women are half of the conversation!
To help bring Women4Oceans to different countries please consider donating to our organization and encouraging others to do the same.
For the Ocean!
Save the Date for those of you based in the UK or passing through…
Women4Oceans will have its first ever networking event on March 30th at the LIBRARY club in London. We will have a panel of 4 to 5 women speakers* working across a range of ocean topics from ocean policy to plastics in our ocean. These ladies will present an overview of their work as well as discuss some of the challenges they face working as women in their field. *Speakers and full program TBD. If you are interested in speaking about your work and experiences at this or future W4O events in London or elsewhere please be in touch!
We encourage ladies from all professional backgrounds with an interest for the ocean to come along. Please do spread the word!
Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women4oceans-london-tickets-31…
A big thanks to Angela Martin & Gerlinde Schäffter McAneney for helping to organize this event!
If you are interested in making a donation our bank account number (IBAN) is: NL84TRIO0338507574 under the name 'Stichting Women4Oceans'. We welcome contributions big and small. Click here to find out how your money will spent.
You can make a difference today and help lift the voices of women around the world working for a healthy ocean!
Hurray It's official! Women4Oceans
registered as a nonprofit organization
based in the Hague, the Netherlands on
January 10, 2017. Now the real work
begins! Stay tuned as we develop and
publish our plans!
On the photo from left to right: Nathalie Rey (Board Secretary), Rita Brouwer (Board Treasurer), Farah Obaidullah (Founder & Executive Director) & Olivia Langhoff (Board Chair).
Whilst I look forward to summer in Scheveningen, I also know that it means I'll see ridiculous amounts of rubbish at the end of the each day. To my delight this summer was better than previous ones. I think this might be due to the fact that plastic bags can no longer be issued for free in the Netherlands which probably did a lot in terms of awareness. However with less rubbish overall I started to notice discarded, washed-up and forgotten beach toys.
At first I picked them up and threw them in the bin. Then when I heard that my friend Lisa was looking for beach toys for her daughter River, I decided to start collecting what I found and it is truly shocking.
This collection was found over a period of about five weeks, mostly during the month of September. I typically found them in the evening along the shore line when most people had packed up and gone home. Many items also washed up on the beach, usually after a storm.
I'll admit, I love toys and have a pretty grand collection myself. But to see all this plastic on the beach breaks my heart. If I hadn't picked it up, this plastic would have ended up in the ocean. A lot of these toys probably got lost and whilst that's sad, I can't help but feel that parents have a responsibility to make sure their kids don't leave their toys behind even if they are broken. It's so easy not to care when it only costs a couple of euros for an entire set! No wonder the incentive to find or pick up your own toys isn't there.
Below are some photos of this summer's collection. I tried to get creative! I depicted a plastic version of the "Life of Pi" and a hammerhead shark. I found some trawlers and if you look carefully you'll even see a bit of fish net, a truck dumping plastic bottle caps, several plastic guns and to top it all off, I found Captain America's shield! Not sure what Captain America can do for the ocean, but if he's listening, please HELP save our ocean! I tried to depict a theme of a fish filled with plastic, swimming in a reef. The fish is caught on a hook (snorkel) only to be eaten by humans.
The story goes we are choking our ocean with plastic. Some scientists estimate that within a few decades there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. If you don't believe me, google it and you'll find some pretty scary yet credible studies. The thing is we're taking too many fish from the ocean and dumping way too much plastic in it (a staggering 8 million tons a year!!!) Plastic breaks down into microplastics which get ingested by fish and other marine life where it accumulates (bio-accumulation). If we eat fish we will accumulate that plastic. That's what the plastic Pacman-looking figure is supposed to depict.
I have thought about what I am going to do with these toys. The plan for now is to try and exhibit them on The Pier in Scheveningen, reminding folks that even something as innocent as a toy can cause so much destruction. Once the exhibit is over I'd like to donate them to a good children's charity. One friend suggested opening a toy library. Great idea but I am not sure that would work in the Netherlands. If you're Dutch and you think it will, let me know! If you have any ideas feel free to send a comment either here or in the contact section.
Thanks for reading! - Farah