April 25, 2023
The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is proud to be home to a diverse group of women scientists, ranging from 21 to 93 years old. An analysis of OWSD membership performed in 2022, showed that more than half (56%) of its members are under 40 years old, reflecting a significant component of young women scientists in the organization.
While the age groups have slight variations at the regional level, it is noteworthy that both Africa and Latin America & Caribbean have 58% of members under 40 years old. In contrast, members of this age group in the Arab States represent 44% of the total.
The data also reveals that the largest share of members in the 20-29 years age group is found in Latin America & the Caribbean, where 15% of the members fall in this age group, while the share of this same age group for the total OWSD members is 12%.
The age range of OWSD members reflects the organization's commitment to promoting women's participation and progression in scientific careers, regardless of age. Age diversity is crucial for women in science, as it provides opportunities for mentorship, collaboration, and a diversity of perspectives.
Women scientists face numerous barriers and biases related to age that can hinder their participation and progression in scientific careers. These barriers include ageism, which can result in women being perceived as less competent or valuable as they get older, and the assumption that women will prioritize family over their careers, which can lead to their contributions being undervalued or overlooked.
OWSD recognizes the importance of family-life balance for women in science and encourages science organizations to take into account the needs and possibilities of caregivers throughout their career. When evaluating someone for recruitment, career advancement, membership, fellowships, etc., it is essential to avoid setting an age limit, ignore family-related gaps in their CV, and be flexible on the maximum age of academic degrees. This approach will help to create a more inclusive and diverse scientific community, where women of all ages can thrive.
OWSD is committed to promoting age diversity in science and creating opportunities for women scientists at all stages of their careers. Join us in our mission to empower and support women in science around the world.