International Women’s Day this year comes almost exactly a year after the world shut down. In the murky darkness of this pandemic, there has never been a better time to see the light that is the strength in women, of our women leaders and our female colleagues across the world.
Studies show that female-identifying people have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, yet this year has marked some amazing achievements for iCRAG’s female-identifying colleagues. Highlights include the UNESCO Lecture series, which sees PhD student Halleluyah Naantu Ekandjo speak to a global audience about Earth Materials for a Sustainable and Thriving Society tomorrow. Dr Jean O’Dwyer was appointed as the head of the Environmental Geosciences PhD programme for iCRAG, bringing an immense talent and expertise to a role which will positively affect many research students. iCRAG’s female-identifying colleagues have also been hugely successful in winning significant funding for geoscience in Ireland through a number of high profile grants, such as Prof. Maria McNamara who won a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant in December 2020..
A further highlight of the year has been the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Geoscience conference. iCRAG took the opportunity presented by the pandemic to stop, listen and learn about the numerous issues that exist within the realm of geoscience. iCRAG strives to be an inclusive organisation and a safe space for all its members.
COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways, iCRAG chooses to see the positives that have arisen from these changes. In a time when we have been forced apart by the pandemic, iCRAG’s Girls into Geoscience – Ireland programme came together with sister programmes from the UK to create Virtual Girls into Geoscience. This event reached over 250 attendees, a far larger audience than the usual in-person events combined, and saw participants sign in from as far afield as India and Dubai. This event capitalised on the power of the online realm to bring people together. In the face of the pandemic, the Girls into Geoscience sisterhood showed the positive attitude of change and problem solving that we celebrate.