Empowering women in deep-sea research

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) recently signed a Letter of Cooperation with the UN International Seabed Authority (ISA) to support initiatives for the inclusion of women in deep-sea research.

The NOC already supports the ISA-UNOHRLLS Women in Deep Sea Research (WIDSR) project via its West P&I Bursary, providing opportunities for representatives from developing states to participate on research expeditions, as well as the provision of a WIDSR Advisory Board Member.

The WIDSR is a key deliverable of the ISAs commitment to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 5, their UN Ocean Conference 2017 voluntary commitment (#OceanAction15467) as well as their Strategic Action Plan 2019-2023 and Action Plan in support of the UN Ocean Decade to close the gender gap by building capacity to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls.

These align with the NOC’s Values to empower others and its Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda, where activities such as connecting under-represented groups with science berths, or promoting Respect at Sea by way of shining a light on what behaviour is OK and what’s not OK, or the NOC mentoring programme, help demonstrate the NOC’s commitment to gender parity and delivery of our International role in working with developing countries.

The NOC’s Head of Marine Policy, Alan Evans commented: “This is yet another example of the ISA delivering on its broad mandate to responsibly manage activities in The Area and in providing opportunities through capacity development. Working with partners such as the NOC helps establish frameworks that promote and enable collaboration, such that activities in relation to understanding deep seafloor environments are open to all, and in doing so reinforcing the principle that The Area is the common heritage of all (hu)mankind, not just the fortunate few.”