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 email@example.com. 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!