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'Pushing the limits': Experiences of women in tropical peatland research

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-10-14, 15:34 authored by SA Thornton, S Cook, D Astiani, KA Hapsari, H Varkkey, LES Cole, GC Dargie, S Sjogersten, NZ Zawawi, SE Page
Science fields, including tropical peatland research, are facing persistent under-representation of women. In this perspective piece, we explore, as women at different stages of our career, our personal experiences of 'what is it like to be a woman working in tropical peatland science'? We collected our responses and analysed them thematically. Although we come from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures, our responses all dealt with common issues, such as from practical challenges of being women in the field, persistent sexism, issues of harassment to navigating the politics of research as a woman. The peat swamp is seen as a site of rebellion against traditional gender roles. Senior female role models were also vital for us all, which highlights that mentoring schemes in aquatic and wetland research, as in other science fields, need further consideration and investment. Continuing to improve gender balance is central to effecting a positive change in research culture, and we stress that the issue of the 'bravado' surrounding fieldwork needs to be further explored and challenged. By pushing these 'limits' both in the field and in the academy, we will not only produce a more equal and compassionate working environment, but also ultimately improve our science.



Marine and Freshwater Research, 2019

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/School of Geography, Geology and the Environment/Physical Geography


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Marine and Freshwater Research


CSIRO Publishing



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