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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‘Voices that are silenced or ignored, for whatever reason, represent not only an injustice but also a valuable resource hat has been wasted, a tragic waste of human capital.’James Padilla,President, Ford Motor Company (2005)
Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the problem of women’s underrepresentation in science and technology and explains why its solution truly matters. It notes the growing concern of governments and other entities around the world, justifies in some detail the critical role of the science and engineering academies, and specifies the Advisory Panel’s mandate for this report.
Chapter 2 reviews some of the past and present activities of organizations that have been effective in advocating for and supporting the education and career prospects of women scientists and engineers. It describes the educational and inspirational efforts of women’s groups, some of the national assessments and initiatives undertaken by governments in pursuit of gender equality, and trends both in improving access to higher education in science and technology and in enhancing prospects for employment that is not only productive but offers opportunities for advancement.
Chapter 2 also describes the application of ‘good management practice', which the Advisory Panel strongly recommends to the academies for their own operations and for dissemination to the larger S&T community. This management principle—an effective, well-demonstrated means of making an organizational culture inclusive of minorities, be they ethnic minorities or women in institutions dominated by men—is shared by many of the successful inclusion efforts reviewed by the Advisory Panel. Good management practice aims for establishing a culture in an organization that values all of its members and expects them —and gives them the opportunities—to function at their full potential for the benefit of that organization.
Elements of good management practice include:
As specified in the successive core chapters (3, 4, and 5) of this report, good management practice forms the backbone of the Advisory Panel’s recommendations for academies in the following three areas: