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This International Women’s Day, 8 March 2024, we hope to raise awareness of the great achievements women have made amidst the mounting challenges of climate change, and to embrace equality and inclusion along with our colleagues in the University of Reading and around the world.

The organisers of International Women’s Day remind us of the key role of inclusion in creating a better and more equitable society: “Inspiring Inclusion encourages everyone to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities. Let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a world where all women are empowered, valued, and included. By working together to break down barriers and foster diversity, we can build a more equitable and inclusive society for generations to come.”

The theme of empowerment, and overcoming barriers in our career paths is expressed brilliantly in Dr Amna Jrrar’s catchy phrase: “A researcher at heart can always restart.” Dr Jrrar is a Climate Modeller and Climate Data Analyst at Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, who has left research a couple of times but has always come back, flexibly switching topics within climate science in the process. She observes: “Many people (women in particular) could have pauses in their research career either to pursue work in industry or in teaching, or because of illness or due to caring responsibilities for family members, etc., and worry particularly about going back to research. In fact, that was a topic I have discussed with female scientists at Kigali [at the 2023 Open Science meeting], and my response was that it is not easy, but you can always go back to research if you have enough passion for it.”

With others at the University of Reading we are also proudly celebrating today the recent publication of The Edinburgh Companion to Women in Publishing. Dr Marissa Joseph, one of the editors, who is based in the Henley Business school, writes: “The interviewees’ passion shines through their words … and their stories provide inspiration for future generations of women in publishing.” Another colleague, Prof. Daniela La Penna in the Department of Languages and Cultures notes that the book “has chapters covering the cultural action of women who worked across nations, continents and languages, often acting as a bridge to foster long-lasting collaborations and change in their respective fields of professional interest.”

As an Institute that works across sectors, regions and disciplines we recognise within Walker the great accomplishments of these women who have achieved so much by working collaboratively within and across their respective professions and fields of research.