Despite the gender gap in STEM fields, women continue to thrive in areas such as science, engineering, math, and technology. The importance of women in the STEM workplace and education cannot be underestimated, as diverse and varied perspectives are needed to advance society and improve lives. One way that we can work to close the STEM gender gap is to highlight the successes of women in STEM fields. Read on to learn about the six accomplished female scientists who serve on the Earth Commission.
About the Earth Commission
The Earth Commission is an initiative of Future Earth, a network of scientific researchers governed by the International Science Council, the World Meteorological Organization, and the United Nations Environment Programme, among others. Future Earth created the Earth Commission to assess current science and create science-based targets to support and restabilize the Earth’s land, water, and biodiversity. The Earth Commission has 19 members who represent 13 countries and six continents.
One of the three co-chairs of the Earth Commission is Joyeeta Gupta, a professor of environment and development in the global south at the University of Amsterdam’s Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. She is also a lead author of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore.
Gupta’s research interests include how governance patterns and geopolitics influence North-South issues regarding the environment and development, the relationship between development and environment at the local and global levels, and advancements in sustainable development. Her key focus areas include ecospace, energy and development, and environment topics such as climate change and ecosystems.
Xuemei Bai is a professor of urban environment and human ecology at Australian National University Fenner School of Environment & Society. Since 2017, she has been a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and in 2018, she was selected as a Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize. The award is presented for outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries in the environmental field. In 2019, she was named among the Climate 100: The World’s Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy by Apolitical, a global learning platform for public servants.
Bai’s areas of expertise include human geography, environmental science and management, land use and environmental planning, and urban and regional analysis and development. Her research concentrates on urban sustainability science and policy frontiers, including urban social ecological systems, the impact of landscape urbanization on food production, and cities as complex systems. She also studies Chinese environmental policy and regional development.
A professor of ecology at the National University of Córdoba, Sandra Diaz is a member of the Argentine National Research Council and the Academies of Science in Argentina, the United States, France, and the Developing World. Additionally, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2019, she was awarded the Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science from the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, as well as the Senckenberg Award for Nature Research by the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research.
Diaz conducts research into plant functional traits and general functional specialization patterns, in addition to the effects that they have on ecosystem properties and the ways that they interact with global change drivers. Additionally, she investigates how different societies modify and value ecosystems and biological communities.
Kristie Ebi serves as a global health professor and a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington. Over the course of her career, she has provided assistance with climate change vulnerability assessments to various countries in collaboration with organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United States Agency for International Development. In 2019, she was a featured (Technology, Entertainment, Design) TED Talk speaker on the detrimental effects of climate change on the nutritional value of food.
Ebi researches the effects of climate change and variability on human health, concentrating on the adaptation to and the impact of climate variability and change. This includes its influences on extreme events, vector-borne diseases, thermal stress, and foodborne safety and security. Furthermore, she is interested in health topics such as ways to strengthen health systems.
At the University of Arizona, Diana Liverman serves as a regents professor and director of the School of Geography and Development. Among other distinctions, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014. An associate of the National Academy of Sciences, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and the Royal Geographical Society. In 2019, she testified before the United States House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Liverman concentrates on the political ecology and human dimensions of global environmental change. Her focus is on the social causes and consequences of climate change, particularly outcomes for disadvantaged and disempowered groups. She has written widely on these topics for professional publications and online news sites.
Ricarda Winkelmann is a professor of climate system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Potsdam Institute of Physics and Astronomy. In 2017, she received the Karl Scheel Prize for her outstanding scientific work from the German Physical Society Berlin. In addition, she earned the Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award from the European Geosciences Union. She was also named Academics’ Young Scientist of the Year by ZEIT Publishing Group in 2018.
Winkelmann maintains involvement in numerous research endeavors, which include co-leading a project examining Earth’s resilience in the Anthropocene, which denotes the recent geologic period in which humans served as the predominant influence on the Earth’s ecosystem. This also involves looking at the impact of humans on the Earth’s geology. She also conducts studies on ice sheet dynamics and tipping elements.