Gender in science, innovation, technology and engineering (SITE) is an international initiative to promote the role of women in science, innovation, technology and engineering, and to demonstrate how applying a gender lens to SITE can provide deeper insights, more effective programmes and more sustainable outcomes in the context of development.
The global development challenges we face are well known: poverty, lack of institutional capacity, environmental degradation, climate change and increasingly destructive natural disasters, health threats such as HIV/AIDS and malnutrition, and gender inequality. Policy and other decision makers need to weigh difficult trade-offs at every step, and innovation is critical to countries’ ability to adapt to changing circumstances and contribute to the global knowledge bank.
Yet, in many countries only half of the best ideas are heard – or even voiced. Worldwide, women are poorly represented at decision-making and management levels in the SITE sector. Moreover, studies over the last 20 years show that women and men are actually affected differently when SITE is applied to development. Applying a gender lens to SITE-for-development policies – taking into account the vision, concerns and abilities of both women and men – makes them more effective. Simply looking at development challenges in a different way can provoke deeper insights into more effective, long-term solutions.