International Women’s Day 2024 – SMHI aspires to inspire inclusion

On March 8th International Women’s Day is celebrated globally. On this day, the international development cooperation team at SMHI wants to highlight the topic and the importance of gender inclusion within their areas of work.

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually to recognise women's achievements, raise awareness about discrimination and inspire action to drive gender parity. This year’s theme is “inspire inclusion”.

SMHI’s international work for gender inclusion

Birgitta Seveborg Farrington, international project manager at SMHI, knows the importance of including women’s perspectives in SMHI’s international development cooperation activities. When asked to give examples of how we work with inclusion and gender, she brings up our recent International Training Programme (ITP) on Climate Change for countries in Africa.

SMHI's International Training Programme (ITP) - project page

“To start off, climate, meteorology and hydrology can be male dominated disciplines in many countries. We therefore actively encourage women to participate in our capacity development programmes in order to benefit from both male and female experiences and perspectives.”

Beyond promoting representation, she finds the aspect of education crucial to sustainable equality work:

“Gender and equality modules are standard parts of all our training programmes. We have found that this contributes to inspirational discussions and boosts sustainable development solutions. I think with a better understanding of each other, follows an understanding of the benefits of an inclusive approach.”

ITP Rwanda
Female ITP Participants reflect on the benefits of the programme during a workshop in Rwanda.

Climate change and gender

Matters of inclusion and equality are becoming increasingly important also in the global research community. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a key SMHI partner, is one organisation which actively works with this. Celeste Saulo, Secretary-General of the organisation, spoke on the topic at an event earlier this year:

“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change and weather-related disasters. The climate crisis is not gender neutral”, she said, and went on to highlight the importance of female presence in the climate discussion.

“There is huge untapped potential to harness women as climate leaders and advocates for climate resilience and sustainable development.”

"The climate crisis is not gender neutral" - news article on WMO's website

WMO’s gender priority inspires Birgitta (and surely many others):

“Poor women in developing countries are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, addressing gender inequality and promoting women’s participation in climate and weather-related issues in these countries through our work, feels very worthwhile.”