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AtlantECO's diversity, equity and inclusion resources

Gender: women


podcast episodes with a gender theme

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Articles and links

Gender equity in oceanography

Legg, S., Wang, C., Kappel, E., & Thompson, L. (2022). Gender equity in oceanography. Annual Review of Marine Science, 15.

Building leaders for the UN Ocean Science Decade: a guide to supporting early career women researchers within academic marine research institutions

Shellock, R. J., Cvitanovic, C., McKinnon, M. C., Mackay, M., van Putten, I. E., Blythe, J., ... & Wisz, M. S. (2022). Building leaders for the UN Ocean Science Decade: a guide to supporting early career women researchers within academic marine research institutions. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Representation in AtlantECO

Data from 31st May 2022.


Ethnicity: encompassing cultures


Podcast episodes with a cultural theme

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Articles and links

Decolonizing science toolkit.

Collection in Nature, November 2022.

Where is the global south in the science diplomacy narrative?

Polejack, Andrei and Goveas, Jenice and Robinson, Sam and Flink, Tim and Ferreira, Gabriela, Where is the Global South in the Science Diplomacy Narrative? (November 16, 2022).


Age: Questions from the next generation, answers from us

Questions on the ocean

What is it like down there, when you dive? Ida, 8 Germany

"It is a real 3D world, you can go into any directions, you feel free and you can observe all the animals and plants that live in this magical world". Shamwari, IMBRSea student, Dominican Republic.

How does it feel to discover something new, when investigating the ocean? Eduarda, 10-12 years old, Brazil 

"I have to say I feel two things I feel excited. Of course, you're a scientist and one of the reasons to be a scientist is to discover something new. It's also a little bit scary because you don't know anything about this new thing and you think of all of the questions you could ask and you want to answer the right questions and I find that sometimes overwhelming, but overall exciting!" Emma, marine microbiologist, South Africa

How does rubbish drift from beach to beach? Moritz, 12, Germany

"The ocean is a very chaotic environment with waves and currents carrying things around, we can never predict the movement of the water, so if you dropped two things in one place, one could end up on the next beach along the coast and the other one could travel all the way across the Atlantic and end up on a beach in America! ". Ana, Cienca Viva, Portugal.

In your opinion, how is the health of the Atlantic Ocean? Gabrielly, Grade: 701, Brazil

"Well, Gabrielly, I'd like to answer to you that I believe that the ocean is in a much better state of health than the terrestrial biosphere. Because the oceans have been around for so long and the organisms dominating life in there have evolved over millions and sometimes billions of years. And, as a scientist, I believe they will be there long after we have become extinct. So I would like to give you a hopeful statement in that we do have to worry about the ocean, but the ocean is incredibly resilient, incredibly. And whenever I study plant ecosystems and I see how they've adapted to this very hostile environment that they live in, it, it makes me feel small and it gives me hope. They will be there long, long after us". Meike, Marine Ecosystem Modeller, Switzerland

How does plastic end up inside of fish? Arsen, 10, Germany

"Mostly through ingestion. When plastic is breaking down into very very small pieces, fish and other animals can mistake those for food, so they eat these small pieces of plastic, that is how we end up finding plastics in the digestive system of these animals. It can also end up in these animals through passive ingestion, this happens when there is plastics in the water and this water is ingested by the fish, as this is their habitat. We are still doing research to see if this plastic ends up in the flesh of these animals, these are the parts that we eat. But in all cases, it is not good that they ingest it! ". Elisa, NORCE, Norway.

What was the rarest animal you have ever found during your research? Wallace, Grade: 701, Brazil

"So I'm not a researcher, but I had the chance to board the ship Tara in Brazil from Belem on the Amazon, and we had the extreme chance to see an Amazon River Dolphin, which is a very big pink dolphin. So it was a very wonderful encounter because it's a species of dolphin that you can only see in this part of the word." Alienor, operations officer, France

How is plankton made? Ide, 8, Germany

"When we look at the smaller components of plankton, there are two to consider, the first one is zooplankton, which are little animals, and then phytoplankton, which are little plants.  Phytoplankton is the smallest, they are just one cell and they use the carbon dioxide in their environment to feed themselves, to grow and to multiply. They do this by splitting cells, so one cell becomes two cells, two cells become four and so on... and then the zooplankton eat the phytoplankton, and then the whales eat the zooplankton!". Sandy, SOCCO, South Africa.

How do the plants in the ocean get there and grow? Jules, 7 years old, France

"Okay, so that's a great question because I'm actually doing my thesis on seagrass so I can talk a lot about it. Basically, if you say plants, it's a bit of a wide spectrum, and they can be really, really big or they can be really, really tiny. So for example, phytoplankton, they're at the bases of everything in the ocean. But speaking of plants specifically, we have sea grasses, which are super cool amazing plants. I love them so much! They are terrestrial plants who evolved to go back to the ocean, so they once were on the earth and just said, you know what, we're going back to the ocean. They evolved and adapted to be able to go back and grow there so they can grow fully submerged, fully underwater". Lisa, IMBRSea student, Italy.

How is coral reef created? Jose, 12, Germany

"Well, it all starts with plankton. Some of the plankton are larvae or babies of animals that we actually see, like crabs, fish sea urchins, or star fish, and also coral polyps. So the baby coral is floating around as a plankton moved by ocean currents until it is time to find a nice rock or a spot to attach to. Once it finds the spot it attaches to the sea floor and begins his metamorphosis into a polyp. Just like a Pokemon, a polyp looks kind of like an anemone, and this polyp will grow, get some microalgae to help it grow and start building a calcified structure, kind of like a tower. When it's grown enough, it starts cloning itself, making it bigger and making the cologny bigger. So kind of making new friends, but of the same individual. " Marta, marine biologist and illustrator, Italy

Why is the ocean blue-green? 4th & 5th grade classes students, Portugal

"Dear Portugese students in the 4th and 5th grade! Light from our sun looks white to our eyes, but it is actually made of light waves in all sorts of colors. Light waves behave like wiggling snakes, and can bump into the particles making up other materials, like your skin, or the ocean. Some light is a very long, and slow, like the red light. And other light is short and energetic, like blue light. When sunlight enters our oceans, the long-waved red light bounces into the water molecules and gets absorbed by the ocean, meaning it makes the water molecules dance, and the ocean won't let this light travel back out. And when you dance, you get hotter, right? So this light can make the ocean warmer. Short-waved blue llight, however, cannot be kept as easily by the water molecules, and when it hits a water particle, it bounces off it and scatters all over the place. This means, some of this blue light can escape the ocean and gets thrown back at us and this is what our eyes see - the light that the oceans do not keep, that reflects back from its surface layers." Meike, Marine Ecosystem Modeller, Switzerland

Questions on women in sciences

What is one piece of advice you would give to younger women about what they can do for the environment and society? I sometimes feel confused about that… Erin, 15, England

"Well, Erin, yes. We're all confused about that and my advice to younger women, men or people in general would be to be more aware. More aware of the impact we have on the planet, more aware of the creatures that live with us on the planet and try to reduce our impact by changing, even slightly, our daily action. And then share all that we know with other people around us. The more we learn about the ecosystem and the planet we live in, the more we can actually have a greater impact on the planet. Because we are all part of an ecosystem. " Marta, Marine biologist and illustrator, Italy

"I want to say that women rights, equality, climate change are huge and global society issues that require for you to fight individually and collectively for your ideals. And you should not question your radicality. It is relevant. It is appropriate, and it is normal to be angry sometimes when you feel you're not being heard and when you feel it's not moving fast enough." Alienor, operation officer, France

"I would just say open your eyes. See how important an environment is for the survival of your generation, of even the younger generation. And let's really join forces because everyone can make a difference in doing tiny little actions, whether it is not to put plastic in the sea or even in the wrong bin, when you collect the waste or switch off the light because we also need to save electricity. We need to be much more mindful when it comes to how can we safe resources, because resources are not endless. We know that now. So, I think you can become a great advocate for a healthy environment just by taking on every day something, bringing it to the school, discussing it with your friends, discussing through your social networks, and then you become as well part of this whole movement, which is so much needed because every voice counts. " Sigi, Advisor to the European Commission, Belgium

"Well Erin, you know that rising carbon emissions, land degradation, and anthropogenic activities are having unfavorable effects on our ecosystem and biodiversity. Young women like yourself often feel helpless as they feel that they do not have the resources to act. You need to work together with society to make a difference by taking on small projects. Join other organizations that are doing these environmental projects or start your own environmental, non-governmental organization. If you are passionate about making a difference to our environment, never let anyone or anything be an obstacle to your ambitions." Kogie, Science Engagement Coordinator, South Africa.

Why don't we talk about female scientists at school? Noémie, 11, France

"It is a shame that this doesn't happen in your school. In Portugal we have many occasions where scientists, men and women, go into schools to talk to students. You should ask your teacher to invite scientists in the classroom or to organise visits to meet scientists where they work. This is really important ". Ana, Cienca Viva, Portugal.

Do you experience discrimination for being women and researching in this area? Ana, Grade: 701, Brazil


"No I have never felt discriminated. In my PhD, my supervisor was a woman and the majority of my colleagues were women too, and in my job as science manager the majority of my bosses have been men and I have never felt any discrimination. I actually had the opportunity to become a coordinator quite soon after I started in my institution. I don't know if it depends on the field or if I was just lucky, but I believe that if you work hard, you will be recognized". Sofia, science manager, Portugal

"I'd like to tell you, Ana, I don't experience discrimination now as a senior researcher and also since my PhD, but I did experience discrimination in school. In fact, when I announced to my teachers that I wanted to study theoretical physics, My parents were asked to school and the teachers told my parents that I should really not study physics because then I'd be too well educated and I would never find a husband. Well, here I am nearly 30 years later, and believe me, none of this worry materialized. So I think at a young age, society really tries to shape women into what it wants us to be, but scientists tend to be tolerant people and in our field there's as many women as men, at least at the PhD stage. So I have not felt this discrimination after my studies ended." Meike, Marine Ecosystem Modeller, Switzerland

What made you aware of wanting to be recognised for the person you are? Or did you not want that attention in the first place? Erin, 15, England

"I didn't want that attention in the first place because I wasn't aware of myself, or how I would be in the place where I am right now. But I was once talking to a woman for a survey collecting the data, and she asked me “is this going to help us in any way?” And I didn't have any answer for that. It stumped me, surprised me, and also made me aware of how disconnected research is from people, and especially the fishing communities.So, yeah, that one point made me very much aware of a lot of things. The place that I come from, the privileges that I've had or the opportunities that I had, and the fact that I was born in a good place with good parents and all the things that I've got. So, yes, that one moment changed my life". Rutuja, IMBRSea student, India.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in science? Arthur, 16, France

"it is a difficult question to answer, because I am lucky in that I have never felt the difference, I have always just seen myself a scientist. And we should all all be considered equally capable to do science. I have always been offered the same opportunities, but it does have some advantages! Being just one of few females in the workplace, I get noticed a bit more,  and asked to take part in many activities. This is  because there is a real push for inclusion and diversification, and there are still less women in general". Sandy, SOCCO, South Africa.

How is the life of a woman scientist? Peterson, Grade: 704, Brazil

"We talk less and work more. No, jokes aside, the life of a female scientist is rather similar to that of a male scientist, I would guess. Except that some of us still do more housework when we get home, stay home more often when the kids are sick, travel less, and shoulder a larger fraction of the mental load associated with modern family life. We also don't get cited as often as men, we receive fewer awards, and fewer of us are professors or senior scientists. Some of us get told that we are too critical, or too intense, or too opinionated, or too intellectual. We choose our partners and friends wisely. But just like male scientists, we do get paid to spend a lot of time with something we love, which makes up for some of these challenges." Meike, marine ecosystem modeller, Switzerland

How does it feel to be in a team where it is mostly boys? Noémie, 11, France

"This happens quite a lot when you are in fields that are usually male-dominated like mathematics, physics and aquaculture!  At first it can be intimidating and you can feel a little bit alone, but you have to remember that science has no gender, and that we are all there to share our research, our results and our passions. We can all benefit from a diverse team, learning from each other. If you are in that position it is because you know what you are talking about and you are doing a good job, that is the only thing that matters!". Elisa, NORCE, Norway.

What makes you most proud about International Women's Day? Erin, 15, England

" Even though it is a celebration of all the things we've achieved, it is also a springboard for all the things that need to happen. Every year, it renews  motivation and inspiration for people to ignite that change  ". Sarah, IMBRSea student, England.

Among women and men scientists, which researcher is the most relevant? João, 10-12 years old, Brazil

"I think there's many, many important scientists. Many people think of Darwin as one of the founding fathers for basically everything. So I might say that. And specifically for marine biology I want to mention Cousteau, but talking about women, I wanto mention Sylvia Earle, because she is great. She is really trying to put her face out there and be there when there are conferences like in the UN panel. I think she's really showing that you can do science and you can discover new things, but you also have to, take a stand and participate to change things then, because I think it's super important to go out, do science, discover new things, but also do what you can to preserve the things that you study because they are in danger most of the time!" Lisa, IMBRSea student, Italy

Send us your question!


Age: Early Stage Researchers (ESRs)


Podcast episodes with ESRs

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