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World Ocean Day

The importance of gender equality, in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources is increasingly being recognized. However, there is very little data and research on these issues, and a concerted action towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5. Our first feature is Ms Isabelle Ravinia. 

Ms Isabelle Ravinia is the senior research scientist at the Seychelles National Parks Authority and she shares her contribution to ocean conservation. As a senior research scientist and in her spare time Isabelle invests in education and awareness for children by giving talks in schools on subjects such as marine protected areas management, marine ecosystems and pollution, as well as teaching them to snorkel. She has conducted a number of reef surveys and organised beach clean ups to raise awareness on the impact of marine debris and rubbish on the marine environment. With her many years of experience she has worked to showcase how Seychelles protects the ocean with foreign and local press. Isabelle has managed a project to remove the invasive crown of thorns starfish from the reef. Finally, she is the secretary of an non-governmental organisation Sea Turtle Friends Seychelles whereby they organize events to raise awareness on sea turtles and marine environment.

What is your proudest achievement when it comes to ocean conservation? 

I taught 50 children to snorkel during the August school holiday.

Women in the world are considered very rare in this space – do you think that is the case in Seychelles? 

That is true, it Is not a tradition here to have women working at sea. More effort should be placed in getting more women working at sea. Nevertheless, there has been a tremendous improvement compared to the past.

Nevertheless, what challenges have you faced as a woman in the space of ocean conservation?

It can be as simple, as being less trusted to drive a boar than a man.

Any advice for other women and the upcoming generation?

The ocean is a beautiful place to work, there is so much to discover. Seychelles is 99 %ocean so we all need to join hands and see how we can benefit and contribute towards this massive and rich territory of ours.