Dr. Nighisty Ghezae, Director
The 20th of March is the date on which humans have long been conscious of the autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere of the planet, and the spring equinox north of the equator. An equinox marks the date on which the durations of day and night are approximately equal all over the Earth. Communities around the world have long celebrated the period around the equinoxes with traditional rituals and festivals in recognition of harvests of bountiful crops or in the planting of seeds for hopeful sustenance.
More recently in human history, the United Nations proclaimed the dates of 3 March as World Wildlife Day (since 2013), 21 March as the International Day of Forests (since 2012), and 22 March as World Water Day (since 1993). World Wildlife Day is meant to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, and to draw the public’s attention to the necessity of protecting our planet’s fauna and flora from the increasing pressure that humans are putting on them and their vital habitats. The International Day of Forests intends to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and World Water Day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and on advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Without doubt more widely known – and in many countries an official holiday – is International Women’s Day on 8 March, in celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The day has been celebrated in some form for over a hundred years as women and allied men have continued the struggle in every country to enable women to achieve equality with men in all human endeavors.
Together with its international partners, IFS has long supported the research of early-career women and men scientists to conduct research into locally-relevant, development-oriented problems concerning animals, plants, forests and water, among other subjects. IFS promotes the advancement of women and men researchers based on the premise that it is widely accepted that creating knowledge and understanding through science will allow us to find solutions to today’s acute economic, social and environmental challenges to the realization of sustainable development throughout the world. IFS is passionate about the reality that the scientific community must not continue to deprive itself of the full scientific potential of over half of the planet’s population. Thus, we strive to support women to pursue careers in science so that persistent gender inequality can be overcome, and so that women can assume their rightful place in the efforts being made by conscious people to prevent our precious planet from being further damaged, and to restore it with bounty and hope.