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As part of the International Women's Day 2016 a call for nominations for Geneva-based inspirational women working to protect the environment was launched in February 2016. A total of 160 submissions were received, including women working for inter-governmental, non-governmental, governmental and business organizations, academic institutions and civil society. A committee selected 20 of these inspirational women to be part of an exhibition celebrating their achievements, launched on 8 March 2016, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Elena MANAENKOVA was among the 20 women selected.

Elena is a geographer with specialization in hydrology and meteorology and holds a PhD in Physics and Mathematics, with specialization in meteorology, climatology, satellite meteorology and remote sensing from satellites. She joined WMO in 2003 and has been Assistant Secretary-General since June 2010. Her responsibilities include promoting international collaboration for improved weather, climate and environmental services. Elena spearheads the drive for greater gender equality within the WMO Secretariat and among Members and is passionate about the need to attract more women scientists into meteorology, hydrology and climatology. In 2014, she organized a Conference on the Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services that provided new insight into the vulnerability of women to climate change and extreme weather, as well as their untapped strengths as champions of resilience. Since 2011, Elena has chaired the UN system-wide inter-agency group on climate change. Elena, a Russian national, is the mother of two children. She is fluent in Russian, English and French.