Promoting the development of professional women in Geographic Information Systems by strengthening technical and social skills in environmental sciences and geospatial technologies constitutes above all an interactive process that seeks to share experiences and practical ideas, and the creation of professional networks. The alliance between Arizona State University (ASU) and SERVIR-Amazonia is intended for women in GIS to strengthen their capacities and become multiplier agents who apply what they have learned in their own projects.

New opportunities for empowerment

The academic offer developed – webinars, online course and face-to-face workshop – based on the agreement between SERVIR-Amazonia and ASU, considers gender related topics and includes exchange between ASU staff and students, collaborative research and training.

This offer originates as a long-term response to the persistent gap in terms of employment, remuneration and positions, that women in South America have in sectors that use geospatial technologies, seeking to face crucial problems such as climate adaptation, changes in ecosystems, droughts, fires, and food security, among others. A context in which more than 60% of leadership positions are held by men in government offices, universities or academies in the Amazonian countries.

Consultants and researchers from SERVIR- Amazonia and Arizona State University.

The road traveled so far

In its first year, this collaboration led to three webinars that covered key topics such as leadership through the experience of women who play prominent roles in three of the region’s most important organizations in environmental science and geospatial technology; in addition to discussing the perspectives of indigenous women who have faced limitations to become leaders of their organizations.

Additionally, more than 60 professional women took an online course, in which they acquired knowledge in Open Cartography, Machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI); and soft skills in leadership, networking, mentoring, and entrepreneurial mindset, among other topics. It is worth noting that participants from countries covered by SERVIR-Amazonia (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Suriname and Guyana) who have completed a minimum level of this online course will be eligible to apply for scholarships for the face-to-face course being organized for 2022.

Next steps

This course will begin in May 2022 – pandemic conditions permitting – at Arizona State University, an alma mater that shares with SERVIR-Amazonia the conviction that breaking the cycle of inequality and poverty begins not only with access to education, but also with empowerment through the right to education and opportunities to exercise active, visible, and long-term leadership.