Women in Science: EPA Reaching Out To Empower Women Around The World

By Michelle DePass

I am not a scientist, but in the world of environmental policy, science is a part of our everyday discussions and decisions. So I’m happy to help carry the message about the importance of promoting science and technology as the key to moving forward an agenda as large as protecting human health and the environment, meeting the needs of growing and rapidly urbanizing populations and increasing employment. We know that as we look to use science and technology to drive economic development and resolve health and environmental challenges, we must also ensure that our approach supports our goals for women’s equality.

Two weeks ago, I was thrilled to join Administrator Jackson, leading women scientists in Ethiopia and students pursuing science degrees at the Addis Ababa University to highlight the achievements of women scientists and the role science policy can play in helping solve the most challenging environmental and public health issues of our time.

DePasse2At the same time Administrator Jackson and I were having a conversation with future women leaders in Ethiopia, our colleagues from across the world came together to discuss the importance of promoting women in science and celebrate the launch of the new United Nations agency called ‘UN Women’. The establishment of UN Women reflects a shared global concern with the slow pace of change. We all know that it is no longer acceptable to live in a world where girls do not have equal access to education, where women’s employment opportunities are limited and where the threat of gender-based violence is a daily reality — at home, at school and at work.

To continue this global conversation on the role of women in science, on March 8, International Women’s Day, Administrator Jackson joined two leading women scientists from Indonesia for a live web chat with participants from Jakarta and the U.S. It was inspiring to hear how women in science around the world face similar challenges, but also share the same optimism for the future.

Together with colleagues from across the U.S. government and around the world, we at EPA will work to highlight the efforts of this generation of women leaders – and, I hope, by tirelessly promoting women’s access to education and science-based careers — inspire the next generation.

About the author: Michelle DePass is EPA’s Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs and continues to be a leading voice on expanding environmental justice in less advantaged communities here at home and in countries around the world.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.