Sophie Pittaluga '23, Major: Public Health, Major: Environmental Policy
Faculty MentorDr. John Swaddle
Effective, community-based conservation initiatives must consider how resource use varies by gender and must engage and empower women in project design, decision making, and implementation. Despite widespread acknowledgment of the need for gender equity and consideration in conservation initiatives, there is a gap in literature and resources needed for practitioners to break down systemic barriers and embed gender considerations and women's empowerment into conservation initiatives. Planet Women is an environmental non-governmental organization that helps women create a healthy planet for everyone.
Working alongside Planet Women and a W&M faculty mentor, Sophie explored the role of gender in conservation needed to advance gender equity within the field. She interviewed conservation practitioners, local communities, and executive leaders from conservation organizations and agencies to explore this topic. Sophie created a report that is being used by Planet Women and other leaders in the conservation field to create a path forward for conservation organizations to promote greater equity and empowerment of women in the conservation field.