No Glass Ceiling: Dr. Juliette Biao Calls for Visibility and Recognition of Women

Jun 25, 2024

Today, Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo delivered a powerful keynote address at the World Congress. As the current Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFSS), Dr. Biao brought a wealth of knowledge to the forefront of global forest discussions, emphasizing the critical role of women in the forestry sector.

“I believe that there are capable women out there. The problem that we need to address is the invisibility. If we fail to recognize the efforts that women are making at all levels, we miss out and do not take advantage of the full potential of women”, Dr. Biao stated.

This call to action resonated with the audience, highlighting the necessity of acknowledging and valuing women’s contributions in all spheres of forestry and beyond.

Her speech shed light on the intersections of gender, forestry, and sustainable development, areas where she has made significant contributions throughout her distinguished career. Her work has consistently emphasized environmental sustainability, community livelihood, and gender equality. She also inspired young women professionals with her message:

“There’s no glass ceiling for women in the forestry sector. What a man can do, a woman is able to do.”

Dr. Biao’s academic credentials, including an M.Sc. in Forestry Economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration, provided a solid foundation for her work in natural resources management and policy-making. Notably, she made history as the first female forester in West Africa, pioneering initiatives in natural resource management.

Before her role at UNFFS, Dr. Biao was the Director and Regional Representative for Africa at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi for over six years. Her portfolio also includes significant governmental experience in her home country, having held the positions of Benin’s Minister of Environment and Nature Protection and Acting Minister of Family and the Child.