Dr Hind Al Ameri is an Emirati marine conservation scientist and sea turtle biologist with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. We spoke to her on International Women’s Day in a year where women still face significant challenges and unequal access to opportunities, to talk about support, empowerment and representation – in her field and the wider world.
What exactly does a marine conservation scientist do?
Our job is to conserve, protect and manage marine species and ecosystems. We prevent and limit degradation to marine ecosystems and resources from human impact. We also teach others about the importance of conserving and protecting our planet’s marine life. It’s such a rewarding job!
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day to me is more than just a day to celebrate women, it is the ongoing reminder and depiction of how far we’ve come yet how far we must go. It all starts with empowering young girls, celebrating women role models, their journey and supporting women’s success. All women should be celebrated, and especially those who have it quite tough in predominantly male industries.
Who is the most inspirational woman in your life and why?
Every woman who has helped shape who I am today and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and achieve my goals – they are my inspirations. Our mothers who’ve paved the path and believed in us to lead the day, they had a huge contribution on who we are today.
What advice would you give to other women who wants to work in your field?
Are you an animal lover? And an ocean lover? A marine conservation scientist will get you out at sea and make sure you get involved in hands-on activities with turtles, dolphins and other sea creatures, if this interests you. Nothing or no one should stop you in your tracks. Each scientist’s focus may be on a particular type of animal or ocean environment, but they must all understand how each area affects the other. Marine scientists have strong communication skills and enjoy working with people in different fields. As a conservation scientist we use the best available knowledge to find solutions to conservation problems and make informed decisions on behalf of wildlife and their habitats. Imagine the changes we strive to achieve daily. If you share this passion – then go for it!
Whilst I was very determined in becoming a marine conservation scientist though my studies and hands-on experience, I was also very lucky to have a great support system and women role models — not necessarily in the same field — that inspired me daily to keep reaching for my goals.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I feel that the work we do has a bigger purpose. I see first-hand the changes in one conservation helps in maintaining a species or a population offers huge rewards.
Hayley Alexander is a freelance writer based in Dubai who is passionate about reporting on all things arts & culture, wellness and travel across the wonderful emirates.