Adapted from the WISAT website
Worldwide, women participate far less than they could in science, technology and innovation (STI). Not only do women have less access to information and technology, they are poorly represented in educational, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. However, it is also the case that, until recently, there have been no systematic studies to collect data on women in science at the national and regional levels. Without facts and figures to bring to policymakers, it is very hard to make a strong case for change. The National Assessments on Gender and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), coordinated by OWSD, have been developed to address this lack of documentation. These assessments use existing national-level data, collecting, interpreting and pulling out relevant figures following the Gender Equality – Knowledge Society (GE&KS) indicator framework. Using this framework as a guide, gender-sensitive data has been collated in key areas (ICT, science, technology and innovation) with gender indicators of health, economic and social status to assess the barriers and opportunities for women.
A pilot assessment of six countries and one region took place during 2012 with funding from the Elsevier Foundation: Brazil, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States, and the European Union. In 2015, four more assessments were undertaken in East Africa, with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida): Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The full assessments are available for download below.
The knowledge gender divide continues to exist in all countries, even those which have a highly-developed knowledge society. In all countries in this review – which represent the leading knowledge-based economies in the world – the knowledge society is failing to include women to an equal extent, and in some cases, their inclusion is negligible.
- Numbers of women in the STI fields are alarmingly low in the world’s leading economies, and are actually on the decline in many, including the United States.
- Women remain severely under-represented in engineering, physics and computer science — less than 30% in most countries – while the numbers of women working in these fields are also declining.
- Women have lower levels of access to the productive resources necessary to support active engagement in the knowledge society and related professions – property (land); finance; technology; and education.
- Female parity in the science, technology and innovation fields is tied to multiple factors, with the most influential being higher economic status, larger roles in government and politics, access to economic, productive and technological resources, and a supportive policy environment. Findings also show that women gain ground in countries that have health and childcare, equal pay, & gender mainstreaming.
- Access to education is not a solution in and of itself and neither is economic status. It’s only one part of what should be a multi-dimensional policymaking approach. There is no simple solution.