The inspiring water heroines and their voices

Posted on
08 March 2024


Many inspiring stories and remarkable initiatives that are shaping policy and development in different parts of the world were shared as part of the week-long WWF virtual Water Week this week.
 
The WWF virtual Water Week held from March 4 till March 7 saw WWF-Colombia receiving Freshwater Office of the year 2024.
 
The virtual water week highlighted several important issues and challenges related to freshwater resources and also showcased a big hope in WWF’s successful freshwater initiatives from around the globe.
 
The virtual sessions explored the ways to increase the conservation impact collectively and to tap into opportunities together as WWF.
 
It was a vigorous week of learning and valuing the initiatives from across the network on freshwater protection and restoration, and exploration of future opportunities into accelerating water adaptation in the face of climate change. 
 
However, as a woman myself, listening to stories of inspiring women driving freshwater conservation across WWF and hearing about some of the projects that are benefiting women and their livelihoods across the world was most intriguing moment of the week.
 
I was filled with emotions while attending the session on “Water Heroines”.
 
As women across the network unveiled their incredible stories, challenges, resilience, and unwavering commitment as a woman in conservation, a deep sense of appreciations ran through my heart.
 
The session not only celebrated the women’s contribution but also of the collective impact of women in conservation across the network and globally.  The Water Week celebration was all about taking inspiration from the WWF’S promising initiatives across the globe - “A Beacon of Hope”.
 
The voices of the women conservationist in the network transpired as a beacon of hope for catalyzing my commitment into protecting the nature embedded with sustainability. 
 
From the tales of pioneering indigenous women conservationist to community centric women’s group in the blue community, the women across the network have established a lasting footprint in the history of conservation, demonstrating an exemplary bravery. They also lead, educate, empower, and engage other women within their community into the decision-making process, equally as their counterparts.
 
 
 
Their contributions serve as a testament to the pivotal role and the transformative opportunities that women bring in conservation. Despite a mounting challenge, their triumphing and success stories demonstrated a symphony of resilience in breaking gender steorotypes. In doing this, they strongly supported the importance of promoting diversity in sustainable conservation.
 
The “Water heroines” emphasized to embrace diversity and difference to enable integration of varied perspectives, skills, and ideas, and into recognizing the fact that no system is structured to be universally suitable for every individual. It is equally important for any woman to be vocal to ensure that their challenges in conservation is not gone unnoticed.
 
Women in all spheres of their life or workforce face conscious or unconscious biases, prejudices and stereotypes that are entrenched in the societal norms and behaviours, and due to the factors such as structural barriers, socio-economic and technological transformation, as well as economic shocks aaccording to the World Economic Forum.
 
Even in conservation, women workforce faces challenges mainly in terms of acceptance of their leadership in conservation, and perception of women as a primary caregiver who needs to attend to family obligations that often result in exclusion from conservation initiatives, and more so, exclusion of women’s voice in conservation interventions.
 
However, the efforts and experience of “Water Heroines” reminded me that inclusivity in conservation is not just about including women as mere numbers but also about fostering a culture where women are valued, respected and integrated in the decision-making process.
 
It is critical to continually champion and inspire women in conservation as they foster innovation, diversity, and inclusivity. Promoting women in conservation would mean recognizing and celebrating the diversity of the individuals working towards conservation as gender differences spark perspectives and experiences that enrich the global efforts to address environmental challneges.
 
As a woman working in a conservation organization, I hope to carry these inspiring stories close to my heart and continue to stand and educate on the importance of women’s voice in conservation and beyond.

By Karma Wangmo
WWF-Bhutan