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Data Collection and Analysis

National Assessments on Gender and STI

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 STI were originally developed by OWSD to address this lack of documentation, interpreting data that has already been collected and pulling out the relevant figures. Using the Gender Equality – Knowledge Society indicators as a guide, gender-sensitive data has been collated in key scientific areas using health, economic and social status indicators which are sex-disaggregated to assess the barriers and opportunities for women. In the first phase (2012) OWSD was funded by the Elsevier Foundation and commissioned researchers to undertake a pilot assessment of six countries and one region: Brazil, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States, and the European Union. In the second phase (2015-16), with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), OWSD comissioned 4 researchers to gather and present data on 4 East African countries and hired a consultant to coordinate, review and provide an overall summary of the findings in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Lead researchers/authors of the reports were:

•    Ethiopia: Helina Beyene, University of California, USA
•    Kenya: Natasha Froshina & Grace M. Mwaura (African Centre for Technology Studies, Nairobi
•    Rwanda: Verdiana Masanja, University of Kibungo, Rwanda
•    Uganda: Irene Murungi, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
•    Summary  and Analysis:  Nancy J. Hafkin, Senior Associate, Women in Global Science and Technology (WISAT)

The full assessments are available for download below.

Key Findings

Adapted from the WISAT website
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.