Zoe Brown

Zoe’s research focuses on the challenges faced by women in biodiversity conservation in New Zealand.

Photo Credit: Zoe Brown


I am a 4th year Undergraduate student studying Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Whilst the work I have undertaken as part of my degree has focused primarily on animals, plants and natural systems, over the course of my studies I have become increasingly interested in social systems and the role of humans in global environmental change. This interest lies largely in the importance of addressing social inequities in order to successfully resolve the environmental problems we are facing.

Project Title

Investigating potential gender-related challenges faced by women in biodiversity conservation in New Zealand

Project description

My research focuses on the inclusion of women in biodiversity conservation. This follows a recent publication by UN Women in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) stating that gender-inclusivity must be a key feature of the new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The majority of research surrounding this topic has focused on developing countries where, often, a traditional, patriarchal culture restricts female inclusion in the development of conservation initiatives. As such, I have by contrast decided to examine this issue in New Zealand as a more progressive nation that appears – from an outside perspective – to be actively pursuing gender-inclusivity in conservation whilst embracing its indigenous culture.

To do this, I will carry out interviews with women in different conservation organisations (both policy and grassroots-level) to discuss their perceptions on gender-inclusivity in biodiversity conservation and their experiences throughout their career so far.

This will hopefully contribute towards enhancing the knowledge-base on the perceptions of this topic across different cultures, and the prevalence of gender-exclusivity in conservation worldwide.


Aidan Keane (University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences)


BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences