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Women in Conservation – Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We asked Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner to share a little bit about her career, her experiences as a woman in conservation, and about women who inspire her.

I am a conservation social scientist, fundamentally motivated by concern for the state of our planet and belief in the moral imperative for action. Research and evidence-based policy are an important part of shaping a more sustainable future. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research, focus on area-based conservation systems like protected areas, and study how they change over time. At Conservation International, I lead the global PADDDtracker initiative, which studies and raises awareness of legal rollbacks to protected areas and applies insights to inform conservation policy and practice. You can learn more about my research here.

As a woman conservation, I recognize the strides we have made, but also see how far we have to go. Across fields, we have not reached parity in terms of women in leadership positions or equitable pay. All of us can and should be part of the solution. Instead of telling women to “lean in” or that they have “imposter syndrome,” everyone – especially those with more power – can work to create more just, diverse, inclusive, and equitable cultures through our personal and professional spheres of influence. Specifically for scientists, this includes: citing and nominating women; collaborating with women in proposals, publications and conference symposia; and hiring, paying equitably, promoting, and listening to women. This requires a daily practice (by men and women!), and involves checking ones biases around each decision and interaction. In the long term, I think we should aim for a world in which we celebrate the achievements of women and men on their merits every day – not just on days like International Women’s Day.

I am inspired by any woman in conservation who has persisted through challenges and holds strong – there are so many! I am especially inspired by the women on the front lines, leading their communities in securing their rights, opposing unwanted development projects, and pushing for systemic change at the grassroots level. These environmental defenders face some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable to protect their communities and environments.

Thank you so much to Dr. Golden Kroner for sharing with us. You can keep up with her work by following her on Twitter at @RachGolden and on LinkedIn.

Check out the previous women in conservation we’ve highlighted this month.