Kew Gardens001

Women in Conservation (and on Twitter)


A few weeks ago I posted an article with 100 conservation themed accounts to follow on Twitter. It was really popular, probably because lots of people use Twitter and it makes for quite enjoyable procrastination. At the same time though, I managed to get myself told of by quite a lot of people, because there weren’t enough Women in the list.

I was very surprised because rightly or wrongly, the ratio of men and women on the list hadn’t even occurred to me!

Why not? Well, in my own experience of conservation (a very very limited perspective, of course!), whether I or any of my colleagues are male or female has never seemed to make a scrap of difference.*

Perhaps, as a man, I am unlikely to notice these things. And let me be very clear that I have no doubt that problems of this nature have occurred and still do. But being young and optimistic, I can’t help feeling (hoping) that my generation of young scientists is encouragingly moving beyond these problems. You are of course very welcome to disagree.

The only way we will tackle conservation issues successfully is with a diverse range of people from all walks of life, both men and women, from many different countries with many different skills and perspectives.

So in response to the critics main comment, you’re absolutely right – there are of course many brilliant female conservationists out there and I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight them.

As ever, if I’ve missed someone that you would like to see included (this list is by no means exhaustive!) then please do suggest them in the comments.

*Except maybe in the Middle East, but overall, our experience was extremely positive.

Top Conservation and Environment Tweeters
















[adrotate banner=”3″]

Related Posts:

  1. Michael McCarthy
    Michael McCarthy03-31-2014

    Hi James – it’s good to see this list. One way discrimination arises is via unconscious bias – basically well meaning and otherwise fair-minded people (both women and men) can unconsciously associate science with men, with the consequence that women are recognized less frequently than if selected only on merit. There is lots of research demonstrating that this bias is rife, and that only very few people have the opposite bias.

    Other suggestions off the top of my head (I’m sure to have missed many people):

    Nathalie Pettorelli @Pettorelli (suggested in comments on your original post);
    Emily Darling @emilysdarling
    Emily Nicholson @n_ylime
    Amy Whitehead @nzwormgirl
    Alienor Chauvenet @AChauvenet
    Kylie Soanes @kyliesoanes

    I’d also suggest bringing the women from your original list over here (e.g., Stephanie Schuttler appears twice but not EJ Milner-Gulland and others).

    • James_Borrell

      Hi Michael,

      Great points, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I saw a paper on that bias topic recently, so thanks for raising it. Yes that’s definitely a problem, one suggestion was for CV’s etc. to have names removed? I’m not sure the solution, but at least if the bias is recognized then something can be done to tackle it.


      Had a few website problems this past week, so lost quite a few of the comments from this post, sorry everyone!

      I have the suggestions stored, and so I’ll post them below with the names of the people that suggested them…

      Holly K

      Isabelle Côté @redlipblenny
      Shermin de Silva @Shermin_deSilva

      George Swan

      Julia Marton-Lefèvre, the Director General of the IUCN (@JMartonLefevre)

      Katie Hinde

      Conservationists that work with primates: Michelle Bezawesome @bezanswer & C. Michael Reid @mjcreid (not a woman, but should be included in the list of conservationists to follow.


      One person who immediately comes to mind is Karen Lips @kwren88


      Hm, possible suggestions – i.e. some of the women I know who work in conservation (mostly at the start of their careers), all super keen and going to make a difference I believe.


  2. James_Borrell

    Should be working now, so feel free to add MORE suggestions!

  3. Anne Brophy
    Anne Brophy04-30-2014

    James, a great list for which I have a few more suggestions
    Jodi Rowley @jodirowley from Australian Museum and interested in all things frog
    Rebecca Johnson @DrRebeccaJ also from Australian Museum working on Koala Genome Project
    Carol Probets @carolprobets citizen scientist working with conservation of Regent Honeyeater, revegetation and promotion of the love of nature and biodiversity
    Many thanks,

  4. Maureen


    Thanks for this terrific list! I found your top 100 (also an incredibly valuable list) doing research for an article and realized how skewed the list seemed (male/female). I appreciate all your work.

    Glad to find you here and on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Widget not in any sidebars