Dr Rita Gardner CBE, first female Director of the RGS-IBG and first female Editor of the Geographical Journal. Portrait by Alastair Adams.*
Today is International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion we’re acknowledging the work of female geographers in developing the discipline. At the beginning of this week we asked geography teachers, via Twitter, to recognise the women who had helped to shape their subject knowledge and careers.
The response was fantastic, with replies highlighting women who work to support geographical learning at all stages, from primary school to leading international professors.
People commented on the diverse scholarship of women across the discipline and the influential role of female mentors, as well as the varied career pathways of geographers in many different roles and professions. The role of school geography teachers was also widely recognised as inspiring further study of the subject and raising aspirations of what that could lead to.
You can hear more about how female geographers have worked to develop and disseminate geographical knowledge throughout history with our Ask the Geographer podcast with Dr Sarah L. Evans.
*Footnote: Portrait behind Dr Rita Gardner CBE features: Lady Jane Franklin, the first female to be awarded the Society’s Founder’s Medal (1860); Isabella Bird, the first woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Society (1892); Professor Eva Taylor, the first female professor of geography in the UK (1930); Professor Alice Garnett, the first female president of the IBG and the GA (in 1966 and 1968 respectively); Professor Dame Judith Rees, the first female President of the RGS-IBG (2012); Professor Linda McDowell as first female editor of Area (1983-6); and Professor Alison Blunt as first female editor of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2008-12).