The network for Women in Marine Science was initiated after a recommendation following the external evaluation of WIOMSA in 2016.
In March 2017, the WIOMSA Board of Trustees approved the WIOMSA Gender Policy and during WIOMSAs 10th Scientific Symposium in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, WIOMSA announced the launching of its network for Women in Marine Science. During the symposium WIOMSA also hosted the first meeting of WiMS.
WiMS was launched in order to address the gender equality issues facing women marine scientists in the Western Indian Ocean region. WIOMSA believes that better networking amongst these women are critical to address these issues. A network of this kind will bring them together to discuss issues of common interest and identify priority issues for action. It will also provide them with a platform where they can plan activities and speak with one voice on issues of their concern.
To make the network operational WIOMSA commissioned a consultant to conduct an assessment of needs for women in the network and to develop the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the network. This was done by sending out an online questionnaire targeting women in marine science. In total 325 women responded to the survey.
To follow up the questionnaire WIOMSA invited selected female members of the WIOMSA community to a meeting in Nairobi in December 2018 to discuss the results from the questionnaire and to discuss and approve the TOR of WiMS. During the meeting the first Steering Committee of WiMS was elected and the work with WiMS really kicked off.