The World Meteorological Organization is hosting an international conference which aims to empower women in both providing and using weather and climate services to help make communities safer, stronger and more resilient. The conference on Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services is taking place in Geneva on 5-7 November 2014 and is co-sponsored UNESCO, among a wide range of partners.
Speakers include UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction head Margareta Wahlstrom, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru and Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, a Samoan high chief and senior member of Cabinet.
UNESCO is co-leading the thematic sessions on: Disaster Risk Reduction, Water and Women and Careers in Weather, and Water and Climate.
Conference participants include meteorologists and climate scientists; U.N. agencies, academic institutions and civil society representatives; national authorities and country-level practitioners; national and international women’s rights advocates.
User-friendly weather and climate information services are essential to help communities cope with the changing climate and increasing risks of disasters, threats to food security and water stress. But too little attention is paid to the special needs and strengths of women and their vital role in community resilience. Women often need different types of weather and climate information than men, or may access and use it differently.
For instance, in the rural areas of many developing countries, women bear the most responsibility for household food production and water supply. They are frequently exposed and more vulnerable to natural hazards like floods or droughts and to climate-related health risks like under-nutrition and malaria.
The conference will raise awareness and showcase good practices and concrete actions to empower women to produce and use weather and climate services. It will define the steps needed to close the gap in the use of such services by women by answering two important questions: How can we design such services to meet the needs of women? How can we empower women to better use such services to serve their communities?
There will be special sessions on disaster risk reduction, health, water and food security.
A high-level panel on Women and Careers in Weather, Water and Climate will examine how to attract and promote more female scientists. Over the last forty years the number of women involved in science related careers and organizations has increased. But as a global average, less than one-third of professionals in meteorology and hydrology are women. Discussions will focus on what can be done to improve the situation.
The high-level segments will be webcast.
The conference is by invitation only. Any media wishing to attend or to interview participants should contact the WMO Media Officer Clare Nullis (cnullis(at)wmo.int)