Stories & Articles

Championing change: Women shaping conservation today

As we commemorate this year’s International Women's Day, we honor the remarkable worldwide contributions of nine women leaders at the forefront of conservation efforts. At Rare, we recognize women’s vital roles in safeguarding our planet's biodiversity, fostering sustainable development, and promoting environmental stewardship. Join us in celebrating their resilience, passion, and dedication to shaping a more sustainable future for generations to come.   
February 28, 2024
Animation Visionary

Renowned as Netflix’s VP of Animation and the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film with “Hair Love,” Rare Trustee Karen Toliver isn’t just breaking barriers. She’s leveraging her industry influence to spotlight urgent climate action.

Mangrove Guardians

Dalva Ribeiro, Taciane de Socorre, Iara Amorin, and Oneide Rosa are among the 600+ members of Brazil’s “Mothers of the Mangroves” network. Through their advocacy and microbusinesses focused on fisheries, natural medicines, local food, and sustainable crafts, these women are leading innovative efforts to protect the mangrove forests and their communities.

Colombian Superstar

Monica ‘Momo’ Lozano, a farmhand turned agronomist, is on a mission to regenerate Colombia’s land. Through her expertise and passion for composting and promoting regenerative agriculture practices, she’s empowering thousands of farmers and individuals to collaborate with nature in revitalizing the country’s landscapes.

Trailblazing Entrepreneur

Women like Ibu Nurlini are transforming local microbusinesses, catalyzing change in their communities. With Rare’s support since 2019, Nurlini has transitioned her octopus trading business into Indonesia’s formal economy, hiring employees, increasing sales by 80%, securing a first-time bank loan and government support, and investing in sustainable practices and equipment to realize her vision of a more sustainable fishery.

Climate Hero

Rocky Sanchez Tirona was one of the Philippines’ top creative directors when she pivoted from advertising products to advocating for the sea. Now, as Managing Director of Fish Forever, she leads Rare’s coastal fisheries efforts, bolstering coastal climate resilience in eight countries and safeguarding marine ecosystems vital for biodiversity, food security, and livelihoods.

The People's Mayor

Edreluisa O. Caloñge, MD, aka “Mayor Lulu,” went from pediatrician to municipal mayor in the Philippines, driven by a mission to serve. Transitioning from medicine to fisheries, she witnessed the community’s struggles due to overfishing and spearheaded initiatives to provide alternative livelihoods, such as land for farming. As a female mayor in a male-dominated field, Mayor Lulu’s innovative leadership earned her a spot in the global Coastal 500 network (recently nominated as an Earthshot Prize finalist).

Ocean Changemaker

In 2024, Rare’s Eva Medianti was named an Edinburgh Ocean Leader – a prestigious global program designed to support emerging ocean leaders with strong potential to positively impact the oceans’ future. Eva spearheads Rare’s work on financial and gender inclusion, helping formalize coastal entrepreneurs’ businesses – half of which are women-led.

Fisheries Manager

In 2022, Eulália Baptista and other women were elected, for the first time, to hold leadership positions within fisheries management bodies in Mozambique. With support from Rare on financial literacy and data for decision-making, these women now serve in various leadership positions, championing a gender-inclusive perspective and fighting for Mozambican women’s access to resources and livelihood opportunities.

Climate Locksmith

Shiyang Li has dedicated her entire career to helping China’s citizens take action for nature. She has helped improve the habitats of 16 nationally protected species and inspired over 300,000 Chinese to adopt conservation practices. Now, Shiyang is working to tackle her greatest challenge of all: inspiring her fellow Chinese to take on climate change in the world’s top carbon-emitting nation.

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