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Women and Science

Just 30% of the world’s researchers are women.

While a growing number of women are enrolling in university as undergraduates, many opt out at the highest levels required for a research career. This situation is even worse for women undertaking doctorates in science in the developing world.

You can get all the relevant data for your country by using an interactive tool, 'Women in Science' developed by the Unesco Institute of Statistics which presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development. The tool lets you explore and visualize gender gaps in the pipeline leading to a research career, from the decision to get a doctorate degree to the fields of research women pursue and the sectors in which they work.  Explore the data for countries worldwide

Why is it important for women to do science?

It is well known that scientific research and advancements can lead to knowledge and products that can solve many of the problems developing countries face, including disease, food security, climate change, the impact of natural disasters and the development of a communications infrastructure. In addition, such products and innovations have a market value which can contribute to local economies, alleviating poverty, unemployment and housing shortages.

If women are not involved directly in scientific research, we lose their specific experiences and local knowledge. In many countries throughout the developing world, women have daily needs and routines oriented to their roles as main care-givers to the elderly and children. Women make up the majority of agricultural workers too, growing and harvesting food for their families, as well as collecting fresh water for drinking. If women are included as both participants in scientific research and as the beneficiaries of scientific research, the impact on children, on the elderly and on local communities will be direct and highly effective.

OWSD provides PhD and Early Career fellowships for women in science from developing countries

OWSD has been awarding PhD fellowships, thanks to generous support from Sida, since 1998. Over 340 women have received fellowships and over 200 of these women have graduated. There are currently 150 fellowship holders on site in countries throughout the developing world.

Each year we aim to award 50 or more fellowships.

To read more about this progamme, click here.

In addition, in 2017 OWSD announced a new fellowship for Early Career Women Scientists (ECWS), funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). This two-year fellowship will provide up to USD 50,000 for women scientists employed in selected developing countries, enabling them to continue their research at an international level while based at their home institutes and to build up research groups that will attract international visitors.

You can find out more about this programme here


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