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Mission and Constitution

The OWSD Constitution


Article 1:  Establishment


1.1 The  Organization  for  Women  in  Science  for  the  Developing  World  (hereinafter referred  to  as  OWSD) is an international organization hosted by The World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy.

1.2 This Constitution was revised and approved by the OWSD executive board in February 2017.

Article 2:  Objectives


OWSD shall pursue the following objectives:

a. Increase  the  participation  of  women  in  developing  countries  in  scientific  and technological research, teaching and leadership;

b. Promote the recognition of the scientific and technological achievements of women scientists and technologists in developing countries;

c. Promote    collaboration    and    communication    among    women    scientists    and technologists   in   developing   countries   and   with   the   international   scientific community as a whole;

d. Increase access of women in developing countries to the socio-economic benefits of science and technology;

e. Promote the  participation  of  women  scientists  and technologists  in  the  sustainable and economic development  of their country; and

f. Increase understanding of the role of science and technology in supporting women's development activities.

Article 3:  Activities


In pursuing its objectives the Organization may, inter alia, undertake the following activities:

a. Improve access to educational, training and professional development opportunities for women scientists and technologists in developing countries;

b. Recognize  scientific  excellence  and  other  achievements  of  women  scientists and technologists in developing countries;

c. Enhance opportunities and develop strategies for the participation of women in the development and utilization of new technologies;

d. Develop  strategies  for  the  participation  and  leadership  of  women  in  national  and international science and innovation systems;

e. Make science more responsive to the needs of society, especially those of women and of women’s development activities;

f. Promote  the  involvement  of  women  in  harnessing  science  and  technology  for sustainable development; and

g. Undertake  such  projects  and  actions  as  it  deems  appropriate  for  achieving  its objectives.

Article 4:  Membership


4.1 Eligible for Membership of OWSD are:

a. Full Members:

  • Women scientists from developing countries who have completed a master’s degree or higher in the natural sciences (including engineering, technology and innovation) or social sciences and who are committed to the objectives of OWSD.
  • This is the only category with voting rights.

b. Affiliate Members:

  • Women scientists from developing countries who have completed a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in the natural sciences (including engineering, technology and innovation) or social sciences and who are committed to the objectives of OWSD.
  • Affiliate members can advance to become Full Members upon completion of a master’s degree (or equivalent) and, consequentially, will receive voting rights.

c. Friends of OWSD:

  • Women and men from developed and developing countries across all disciplines (including science, social science, arts and humanities) who are committed to promoting the objectives of OWSD and who are not eligible for the Affiliate or Full membership categories.
  • Friends of OWSD are encouraged to engage with OWSD and its members through other support activities (mentoring, fundraising, networking, promoting). They can maintain their online profile on for visibility and communication purposes.

4.2 Individuals who wish to become Members shall apply online through the OWSD website and their application will be approved online by OWSD Headquarters. Applications made to national chapters must still go through the OWSD website:

4.3 OWSD has the right to make specific events for Full/Affiliate members only and/or 'by invitation only'.

4.4 OWSD Ambassadors

An OWSD Ambassador is a woman or man (not necessarily an OWSD Member) who has scientific influence and credibility in both the developed and the developing world.

S/he undertakes to use her/his influence in the scientific circles in which s/he works or in which s/he has influence to further the aims of OWSD listed in Art.2.

Specific activities of OWSD Ambassadors are to:

  • Invite OWSD fellows or members to attend conferences or workshops in which the Ambassador is involved;
  • Nominate OWSD fellows or members for prizes or awards;
  • Fundraise for OWSD
  • Increase OWSD visibility at an international level

Article 5:  General Assembly


5.1 The General Assembly is a meeting of members convened by the Executive Board. 

5.2 The General Assembly shall:

Elect   the   President   and    the   Vice-Presidents   of   OWSD, and the Regional Members of the Executive Board out of the shortlist of candidates which were selected by all Full Members through an online voting system.

5.3 All Members shall be invited to attend the General Assembly and have the right to participate in its discussions. Only Full Members have the right to vote.

5.4 At the General Assembly the executive board and OWSD headquarters shall inform members of activities undertaken since the previous General Assembly and present a strategic plan for the next four years. Members will have an opportunity to discuss and provide feedback to the Executive Board and be informed of the general strategies and policies of the Organization. If Members do not agree with the decisions taken they should contact their regional Vice-Presidents, who can raise their concerns with the Executive Board.

5.5 The  General  Assembly  shall  meet  at  regular  intervals to  be  determined  by  the Executive Board (usually 4 years). All Members shall be notified at least six months (preferably twelve) in advance of a  planned  meeting  of  the  General  Assembly  and  shall  receive  a  draft  programme at least four weeks before the meeting.

Article 6:  The Officers of the Organization


6.1 At least six months in advance of the General Assembly, any Member can submit names of Full Members to the Nominating Committee (appointed by the Executive Board) for election to the Board. Self-nominations will not be considered.

At least three months before the General Assembly, all Full Members will be invited to vote for the eligible members selected by the Nominations Committee, from which a shortlist will be published on the OWSD website at least one month before the General Assembly. At the General Assembly, Full Members who are present shall elect from the shortlist all members of the Executive Board:

President (from any region)

4 Vice-Presidents (from each of the 4 OWSD regions)

4 Regional Members (from each of the 4 OWSD regions)

6.2 The term of office of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Regional Members of the Executive Board shall begin at the closure of the meeting of the General Assembly in which they are elected and shall end  at  the  closure  of  the  next  meeting  of  the  General  Assembly.  They may be re-elected onto the Board in any capacity only once (whether consecutively or not.

6.3 The  President  shall  preside  over  the  meetings  of  the  General  Assembly  and  the Executive Board. If the President is unable to attend a meeting, she shall designate a Vice-President to take her place.

6.4 If  the  President or a  Vice-President  resigns  before  the  end  of  her term  or  is  otherwise  unable  to  continue,  the  Executive  Board  shall  appoint  one  of  its members  as  acting  President  or  Vice-President  for  the  remainder  of  the  term  of  the original President or Vice-President.

6.5 If a Regional Member of the Executive Board resigns before the end of her or his term or is  otherwise  unable  to  continue  as  Regional  Member,  the  Executive  Board  shall leave the position open until the next elections.

6.6 The   most   recent   former President shall be an ex officio member of the Board for one term (which is the period between two consecutive General Assemblies).  In addition, the coordinator of the OWSD Headquarters shall be an ex officio member of the Board. Ex officio members do not have the right to vote for decisions which are discussed by the Executive Board.

6.7. The President shall liaise with OWSD Headquarters in handling all official correspondence. If she is unable to do this she will delegate this responsibility to one of the Vice-Presidents.

6.8 The Executive Board shall be responsible for:

a. Setting the time and venue for the meetings of the General Assembly;

b. Approving the General Assembly programme drawn up by OWSD Headquarters in consultation with the OWSD President;

c. Developing a strategic plan drawn up by the President in consultation with a specially formed Executive Board sub-committee;

 f. Approving programmes and activities, as well as their budgets; and

g. Ensuring that actual spending is in accordance with these budgets.

6.9 The  Executive  Board  may  only  take  formal  decisions  if  at  least  six  members  are present (including online) at  a  meeting.  The Executive  Board  shall  decide  by a  majority  vote. In  case  of  a  tie,  the  vote  of  the  President  shall decide.  At  meetings  a  vote  shall  be  taken  by  hand  raising  unless  one member  requests  a  secret  ballot.  Decisions relating to a specific person or persons shall always be taken by a secret ballot.

6.10 In the interval between meetings a vote may be taken by email provided that at least six members participate in the vote. A non-reply is considered an abstention and not a vote. If a vote by email relates to a specific person or persons, the individual votes of members shall be kept confidential.

Article 7:   OWSD Headquarters


The staff of OWSD Headquarters shall be appointed with the approval of the TWAS executive director. 

Article 8:  Finances


8.1 The  funds  of  OWSD  shall  be  derived  from  Membership  fees, grants, subsidies,  bequests,  prizes,  revenue  from  investments  and  from  such  other  sources as are accepted by the Executive Board.

8.2 The  Executive  Board  shall  set  the  annual  fees  to  be  paid  by  Full Members.

8.3 OWSD Headquarters shall prepare each year an audited account of all incomes and expenditures of OWSD.

Article 9:  Amendments


9.1 The Executive Board can make amendments to the Statutes and these must be presented to the General Assembly.

9.2 The Executive Board may amend the Rules of Procedures of the Organization and these must be presented to the General Assembly.


August 2018








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