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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Academies can heighten the visibility of women scientists in general by expanding their involvement in academies’ activities. Positive actions cited in responses to the Advisory Panel’s survey include supporting women’s inclusion in academy boards, panels, and committees (www.interacademycouncil.net). Also, women should be included in study programmes and professional meetings. Other positive actions cited were increasing women’s presence on speaker platforms; ensuring that both women and men scientists and engineers are represented in academy publications and educational materials; and expanding women’s opportunities to chair academy bodies and conference sessions.
In these ways, women become directly involved in setting research priorities and directions and in allocating funding. Such activities also offer exposure and self-development opportunities to women, and they raise awareness among men in their peer groups —along with that of the S&T community in general—of women scientists ’ skills and talents. In addition to raising women’s profiles, the full and equal involvement of women on these bodies serves to enhance their career development and helps them to cultivate leadership skills.