Building leaders for the UN Ocean Science Decade: a guide to supporting early career women researchers within academic marine research institutions

Rebecca J. Shellock, Christopher Cvitanovic, Merryn C. McKinnon, Mary Mackay, Ingrid E. Putten, Jessica Blythe, Rachel Kelly, Paris Tuohy, K M Maltby, Sara Mynott, N. Simmonds, Megan Bailey, Alpina Begossi, Beatrice Crona, K. A. Fakoya, Beatrice P. Ferreira, Alice J.G. Ferrer, Katia Frangoudes, Judith Gobin, Hong Ching GohPäivi Haapasaari, Britta Denise Hardesty, Vreni Häussermann, Kelly Hoareau, Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Moenieba Isaacs, Marloes Kraan, Yinji Li, M. Liu, Priscila F.M. Lopes, Marina Mlakar, Tiffany H. Morrison, Hazel A. Oxenford, Gretta T. Pecl, Jerneja Penca, Carol Robinson, Samiya Selim, Mette Skern-Mauritzen, Kumi Soejima, Doris Soto, Ana K. Spalding, Alice Vadrot, Natașa Vaidianu, Mona Webber, Mary S. Wisz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Diverse and inclusive marine research is paramount to addressing ocean sustainability challenges in the 21st century, as envisioned by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Despite increasing efforts to diversify ocean science, women continue to face barriers at various stages of their career, which inhibits their progression to leadership within academic institutions. In this perspective, we draw on the collective experiences of thirty-four global women leaders, bolstered by a narrative review, to identify practical strategies and actions that will help empower early career women researchers to become the leaders of tomorrow. We propose five strategies: (i) create a more inclusive culture, (ii) ensure early and equitable career development opportunities for women ECRs, (iii) ensure equitable access to funding for women ECRs, (iv) offer mentoring opportunities and, (v) create flexible, family-friendly environments. Transformational, meaningful, and lasting change will only be achieved through commitment and collaborative action across various scales and by multiple stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfsac214
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2022
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • diversity
  • ECR
  • academia
  • equality
  • gender
  • marine science
  • perspectives
  • STEM
  • inclusion
  • early career researcher

Field of science

  • Environmental sciences


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