Realizing that the low representation of women in science and engineering is a major hindrance to global capacity building in science and technology, the IAC formed an Advisory Panel on Women for science with the mandate to review previous studies, provide examples of effective projects already implemented, and issue a set of actionable recommendations addressed particularly to the world’s science and engineering academies.
The recommendations and action items developed through the work of this Panel are presented in this report and are grouped around three themes:
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In this planet’s ever-more-interconnected ‘global village,’ progress in one country can readily inspire progress elsewhere as academies share information and experiences. The IAC and IAP can often function as facilitators. An excellent mechanism for such information sharing may be a dedicated website maintained by the IAP. At a minimum, the website would contain the Women for Science report, including references, resources, and supporting material.
The scope would be broadened, and duplication avoided, if the IAP website were developed in partnership with organizations already supporting women in science and technology through their own websites (for example, Women in Global Science and Technology at www.wigsat.org). Principally, the IAP website would bring the unique perspective of the academies to addressing gender issues. Links could provide access to resources, such as examples of successful programmes and good management practice, as well as to data on the education and employment of women in S&T jobs. In fact, the partnership could go further by creating a web portal providing a centralized venue for networking, and a search engine for resources and connecting users to relevant programmes. Individual academies on their respective web home pages will include a link to the IAP website or portal.
This will make IAC and IAP known as partners and even leaders in the existing global effort on behalf of women’s inclusion in science and technology. One way to do so is by partnering with international bodies —such as the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), the Third World Organization for Women in Science (TWOWS), UN organizations such as UNESCO and UNCSTD Gender Advisory Board, and other nongovernmental organizations—that are effectively addressing gender issues and have implemented programmes for women in science and technology. Such organizations and the academies could be natural allies in coordinating a worldwide mobilization and in developing a strategy to establish gender equity throughout the global S&T community.
In particular, academies might want to collaborate with each other, as well as with other learned societies, to develop a set of indicators and benchmarks for assessing action plans for inclusive S&T practices. These measures should be based on the regular annual collection, analysis, review, and reporting of sex-disaggregated data. A standardized format (such as the European Union instrument, the UNCSTD Gender Advisory Board toolkit, or the WinSETS scoreboard as shown in Table 2.3) should be chosen. Academies that are planning or have already initiated international efforts devoted to education and training programmes of various types need to consciously include gender-related issues in such initiatives. The IAC is thus urged to circulate this Women for Science report more widely than to academies alone. Higher-education institutions, public and private-sector research laboratories, relevant nonprofit organizations, and others around the world may want to receive it and join in the action.
In much the same spirit, the IAC together with the IAP should make use of various means of communication, such as S&T-friendly radio and television programs, for increasing the public understanding of science, with particular focus on girls and women.