In addition to the women who were featured in Moana Voices… Part of the side events that will be held at the UN Ocean Conference that the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is a Partner of is the ‘ HEALERS OF OUR OCEAN: ASIA-PACIFIC WOMEN LEADING OCEAN ACTION TO ACHIEVE SDG14 – HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM THEM?’ which features the stories of several Pacific Island Women working in ocean related fields. These include the stories of our very own Cherie Whippy-Morris and Sangeeta Mangubhai, who are a part of WiFN-Fiji.
For Cherie Whippy-Morris the ocean was a part of her childhood whether it was fishing or picnicking with her family. Her father and grandfather being fishermen and boat builders influenced her interest in the ocean and her fixating on becoming a marine biologist at an early age. She is currently a senior researcher for the Institute of Marine Resources at USP and also an executive board member for WiFN-Fiji. She is a strong believer in women doing well in whatever they want to do, however in her field, marine science, women face the challenge of being heard by decision makers. She believes this challenge can be tackled in the way women present their ideas, so as to not intimidate decision makers. Being part of WiFN-Fiji has enabled her to teach others what she has learnt along the way and also help those whose livelihoods are dependent on the marine environment.
Sangeeta Mangubhai was one of those outdoor nature loving children, her first snorkel on a coral reef was what set her on the path to a career in marine conservation. Today, she is a coral reef ecologist working with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Acknowledging that a male dominated society has its challenges, in her experience it is the voices of credible and technically strong women that are heard by decision-makers in coastal and marine environmental management.
For their full story and the stories of other women ocean leaders click on the link below