The Women in Marine Science Network (WiMS) elected its interim leadership in a meeting that was held in Nairobi, Kenya between the 11th and 12th of December 2018. The interim leadership will lead the network for a three-year period during which procedures for nomination and election will be drafted and agreed on.
The meeting, which was chaired by WIOMSA President, Jacqueline Uku and Rebecca Loustau Lalanne, a WIOMSA Board member, was attended by 18 women of different age profiles
and academic and professional backgrounds. The meeting discussed two reports, the first on the identified needs of women marine scientists in the WIO region and the gaps that the Women in marine sciences network would need to fill and the other on the proposed terms of reference, institutional arrangements and activities for the network.
The meeting agreed that the Network will be led by a Steering Committee, comprised of the national representatives and a WIOMSA Board representative and a Network Convener from the WIOMSA Secretariat to provide administrative and technical support to the Committee. Ms. Rebecca Loustau-Lalanne was appointed as the WIOMSA Board while Emma Forsberg was appointed Network Convener.
Veronica Bristol from Seychelles was elected as the first chair of the Steering Committee. Veronica is also the chairperson of the Seychelles Chapter of the Association of Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA).
National representatives for some of the countries were elected during the meeting. These are: Yvonne Waweru (Kenya), Vola Ramahery (Madagascar), Nashreen Soogun (Mauritius), Esmeralda Mariano (Mozambique), Veronica Bristol (Seychelles), Meaghen E. McCord (South Africa) and Rose Mwaipopo (Tanzania Mainland). National representatives for Comoros, France (Reunion), Somalia and Zanzibar will be filled soon in consultation with WIOMSA members from these countries.
The remaining positions in the Steering Commitee will be filled in the next meeting of the Steering Committee scheduled for mid-next year. The meeting discussed and agreed on several
key activities all aiming at and getting the Network off the ground and keeping the momentum going. These include establishing presence on social media platforms and a new website for WiMS. Other activities to be initiated include a database of women experts, planning for a session during the 11th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium and a publication on women in maritime activities in the WIO region.