Nature to mark International Women’s Day with first conference on gender equity

Nature is to host its first dedicated gender equity conference, which will spotlight women leaders and role models in academia, research and policy, to mark International Women’s Day. Breaking Barriers for Gender Equity Through Research, a free virtual event which will take place on 9 and 10 March, will highlight the role of research towards achieving gender equality, and create new opportunities for networking and mentoring.

A combination of panel discussions, fireside chats and remarks from keynote speakers such as Ismahane Elouafi of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Princess of Jordan, the conference will also include a new mentorship programme designed especially for this occasion. 

Attendees can register as either a mentor or mentee depending on their professional development goals, with the event allowing time for group discussions on aspects of mentoring, as well as occasions for one-on-one chats between mentors and mentees, hoping to encourage the exchange of shared experiences and relatability between individuals.

Representatives from across the Nature Portfolio and Springer Nature brands will form some of the event’s key speakers: Magdalena Skipper; Editor in Chief of Nature, Subhra Priyadarshini; Editor in Chief of Nature India, Akin Jimoh; Editor in Chief Nature Africa, Nadia El-Awady; Editor in Chief of Nature Middle East and Laura Helmuth, Editor in Chief of Scientific American.

As well as editors, there will also be speakers from a variety of global institutions, including Tohoku University in Japan, the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, the Shiv Nadar University in India and the British Antarctic Survey. 

Sessions will examine topics such as excellence in research without borders and gender equity in the context of sustainable development. 

Commenting on the conference, Editor in Chief of Nature, Magdalena Skipper said: 

“We want to put a spotlight on the amazing work of women working in academia, industry and policymaking and their contribution toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 “Gender equality”. The conference will also highlight some of the challenges on the road to gender equity and the role of allies, partnerships and institutions in this effort.

“We are delighted to have such a high-profile line-up of speakers, and particularly proud of the conference’s ambition to facilitate new relationships and break down barriers. All those who join us will have the opportunity to make connections with those they may otherwise not have encountered and our ambition is to facilitate the creation of long-lasting and nurturing mentorship and championship partners.”

Jennifer Thomson, President of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World also said:

“This Nature conference is a fantastic way to celebrate International Women’s Day. It features voices, achievements and lessons learned from women and their allies across the world, who are vital in helping other women fulfill their potential. The power of connection and partnership must not be underestimated when it comes to empowering women to be able to take advantage of opportunities that come their way. 

“The past couple of years have shown the urgent need the world has for science and research. In order to find and implement solutions to urgent challenges, we need the people working on these solutions to reflect the society we find these challenges in. Gender equity in interdisciplinary research and policy therefore remains a pertinent issue and this event will examine where we need to focus our attention in order to continue to move forward, and amplify the achievements of women leaders in research to date.”