Empowering Women

for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for 
Sustainable Development

about the programme

A Commitment to Improve Gender Equality in Ocean Research and Science Dependant Governance Systems

With support from Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the purpose of this research programme is to advance an alternative, inclusive model for the sustainable governance of ocean spaces and maritime activities that duly takes into account the need to ensure effective gender equality and the empowerment of women at all levels in order to ensure the sustainable management of the global ocean. For more information - download the Programme Brochure here.

programme characteristics

Promoting leadership opportunities

The Programme aims to promote land-to-ocean leadership
opportunities in the broader context of implementing the Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This initiative recognises that diverse and intense anthropogenic activities are causing enhanced and cumulative
impacts on land, water and marine environments.

Development of new management options

In order to develop governance and sustainable management options that are practically oriented yet responsive to dynamic processes, the Programme aims to foster a better understanding of the interconnected character of terrestrial, aquatic and marine
ecosystems flowing from source to sea.

A Multi-and interdisciplinary challenge-led research

The Programme is achieved by fostering multi- and interdisciplinary
challenge-led research and capacity building projects. The projects seek to address issues concerning balancing blue-green economic opportunities, the inclusion of social equity, environmental
quality considerations in land-to-ocean governance systems, as well as science-based solutions, and the need to take into account fundamental legal and governance concerns.

Exploring the potential of joint action

The research entails exploring the potential for joint action between
ocean, freshwater and land-based communities, the promotion of
innovation in governance, research and socially inclusive regulatory systems at different geographical scales and with multiple stakeholders, in particular, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).


10 June, 2021



10 November, 2020

Contributions at the Ocean Decade Virtual Series: Empowering Women in the Ocean Decade

objectives & outputs

2 Research Strands

Strand 1

Role of gender equality and empowerment of women in ocean science bodies.

Strand 2

Gender equality in the regulatory and ocean science governance systems that coordinate, manage and mediate ocean science.


  • Lack of equal opportunities for women to participate and contribute in ocean science and ocean science governance systems
  • Absence of appropriate standards advancing gender equality
  • Inadequacy of affirmative action and gender equality initiatives
  • Lack of adequate baseline data


  • Empowerment and participation by women scientists supports diversity and serves as a central factor to enhance science-based governance
  • Increased participation by women scientists contributes to the sum of total human innovation needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Strategy and Action Plan for Gender Empowerment in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable development

Publications, Technical

12 January, 2021

BBNJ Workshop and the UNHQ Side Events Report

Publications, Recommended

24 September, 2020

WMU Empowering Women in the Maritime Community – Conference Report

The Team

Meet the Research Team

Dr. Mariamalia Rodriguez-Chaves

Postdoctoral Fellow

"The acknowledgement of the critical role of women in different professional areas has been advancing, however there are still gaps and challenges that must be addressed, and finding those key issues through this project could identify tangible actions and opportunities to empower women in ocean science."

Area of Research

Understanding the role of gender in international bodies and NGOs involved in the practice and delivery of marine science.

Ellen Johannesen

PhD Candidate

"I’m interested in exploring how we can remove barriers, and identify strategies that will help encourage and promote women into leadership positions."

Area of Research

Understanding the role of gender in the practice of international marine science - The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) as a case study.

Renis Auma Ojwala

PhD Candidate

"It is never too late to change the negative social norms that hinder women participation in Ocean Science"

Area of Research

Recruitment, retention and advancement of women in ocean scientific research and governance in Western Indian Ocean Region.

Director, WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

Project Co-Principal Investigator (Nippon Foundation Post)

Sustainable Fisheries Management,
Ocean Biodiversity and Marine
Spatial Planning

Researcher and Consultant on Gender (External)

Research Officer and Project-PI,WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

Project Engagement and Implementation Officer, WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

Head of Research and Project Lead,WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

Secretariat, WMU-Sasakawa Global OceanInstitute

Contact Information

Find us here: Fiskehamnsgatan 1

Email:  goisecretariat@wmu.se

Phone: +46 40 356 351