Meteorologist giving a forecast

International Women's Day 2024: We are all so much more than the clothes we wear

I was never a good student at school. I found the classes tedious and the subjects generally unappealing. I sat and stared out the windows, watching the clouds go by, for hours. Luckily for me, I was subconsciously honing a skill that would later come to define both me and my entire career.

My name is Claire Martin, and I am a very-soon-to-be-retired meteorologist.

I have worked for the UK Met Office, the Canadian Meteorological Service of Canada, the World Meteorological Organization, and a few TV networks.

I would like to say that I am ending my career in awe of the number of scientific and technological advances that have changed the job of the forecaster, but I think my Aunty Barbara would chuckle at that! She would undoubtedly argue that despite the advances, some things have very much stayed the same. My Aunty, by the way, was Barbara Edwards – the first female on-air forecaster for the BBC.


Barbara Edwards ©BBC
Barbara Edwards ©BBC


Barbara started working with the UK Met Office in 1957. She worked as a weather forecaster at Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport from 1963 to 1970, and then moved to the London Weather Centre where her broadcasting career began. Barbara started giving the weather forecast on BBC Radio in 1970, before moving on-air in 1974, as the first female weather presenter in the UK.

As my own on-air career took off, we would occasionally chat on the phone about the perils of being on TV. Barbara loathed the fickle plastic symbols she had to place on a magnetised board to display the forecast for the day (“wretched things constantly falling off”), and I bemoaned the computer issues that would often cause my graphics to freeze mid-broadcast.

And both of us would sigh over the viewer comments – always directed at our choice of clothes.

Even now, little has changed. Colleagues of mine recently carried out an on-air “social experiment” at a television station in Vancouver, Canada.



The results, though not surprising, are a sad reflection of the extra hurdles that women encounter when simply trying to do their job.

So, what does all this have to do with meteorology?

Research shows that women still make up less than a third of the weather-presenting workforce in the USA. In fact, women are under-represented in many of the environmental sciences, accounting for just 33% of the authors on recent reports for the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading scientific body on climate change.

On this year’s International Women’s Day, rather than dwelling on the hurdles, let me rally all the women and girls out there, thinking of starting a meteorological career, perhaps even on-air, with a quote:

“We are all so much more than the clothes we wear.”

Barbara Edwards, circa 2005.

Barbara was honoured on February 1, 2024 when a picture of her was included in a new series of weather-themed stamps by the Royal Mail.


About the Author

Claire Martin


Claire Martin is a degreed meteorologist and a former award-winning TV host/presenter. She has worked in the public service, as well as on and off camera for public and private broadcasters for nearly 40 years. 

The International Weather Festival awarded Claire Martin the honour of "Best Weather Presenter in the World" in 2000 (Paris, France), 2001 (Quebec City, Canada) and 2003 (Zagreb, Croatia), beating out representatives from the likes of CNN and the BBC.

Claire is currently employed with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as the Senior Advisor to the Director General of Prediction Services Directorate.  

She grew up in London, England (is in fact, a true cockney) and moved to Canada in 1989.





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