11 February 2019

Women and Girls in Science Podcast Series: Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe

According to the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum, 16 per cent of women globally, compared to 37 per cent of men, graduate with a degree in a STEM field of study (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  This exclusion of women and girls has important implications not only for scientific research, innovation and development, but also for women’s economic participation and inclusion.  A 2017 report estimates that 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented, many jobs that exist today will be lost to automation and most jobs of the future will require some facility in STEM-related subjects. If women are to be included in the employment and economic future of tomorrow, they must be included in STEM fields today. 

To promote the empowerment of women and girls in STEM and raise awareness about the need for gender inclusion in science and technology, in 2015 the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

United Nations Academic Impact sees STEM education as an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the participation of women and girls as vital to the success of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  In this series commemorating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, UNAI speaks to women scientists, researchers, engineers and tech innovators to find out how they are contributing to their fields and their advice for young women who want to forge a path in the male-dominated world of STEM. 

The first interview in our series is with Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. Hayhoe’s research helps stakeholders from a variety of fields better understand the impacts of climate change on human and environmental systems and provides a scientific foundation for addressing these consequences. Additionally, she is the Founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, which uses scientific data to help its clients better understand the impacts of climate change. 

She has published over 125 peer-reviewed publications and spearheaded climate impact assessments for regions throughout the United States. Hayhoe serves as an advisor for several organizations, including the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative. Additionally, she is an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Hayhoe is a world-renowned climate change communicator and is a recipient of the Climate Communication Prize by the American Geophysical Union; she reaches various audiences through public talks, documentaries, videos, writings, and lectures. Hayhoe has also been named to TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders.

Listen to UNAI’s interview with Katharine Hayhoe to hear about the importance of increasing women and girls’ participation in science, climate change’s potential to be a threat multiplier, how her communication around climate change has evolved, and how women, girls and all young people can take climate action and help find solutions.

The following resources provide more information on initiatives for women and girls who aspire to work in STEM fields and information on climate change, including resources suggested by Katharine Hayhoe:

  • Check out Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk here.
  • Watch the PBS video series “Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe” here.
  • Learn more about UNESCO’s initiatives for women and girls in STEM here.
  • Find out why UN Women considers climate change a women’s issue here.
  • Get more information on Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls here.
  • For solutions to climate change check out Project Drawdown and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.