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gender in education for science and technology

Gender in Education for Science and Technology:

International policy and action

Sophia Huyer

Senior Advisor, TWOWS

Director, Americas, GAB-UNCSTD

why is this important
Why is this important?
  • Development is increasingly dependent on science, technology, innovation and knowledge
  • Women tend to be significantly under-represented in science and technology education and research in many countries in the region; especially at higher levels
questions for policy and policy makers
Questions for policy and policy makers:
  • How to bring more women into the science, engineering and technology workforce?
  • How to bring a gender perspective into science and technology education for a development agenda?
the policy environment
The policy environment
  • A strong policy framework already exists around science, technology and gender
  • From different levels (global, regional, and national), topical communities (women, science and technology, sustainable development) and areas of intervention (education, employment, popularization of science, etc.).
  • We need to connect them…
making the links
Making the links

Development policy <=> Science policy

(MDGs, Beijing Platform World Conference for Action) Science

  • Science and innovation are integral to realizing development goals.

  • Women need to be actors in as well as targets of development.

  • Putting science, technology and innovation at the service of women, as well as bringing more women into STI are important paths to development.
key leverage points
Key leverage points
  • Education should provide sufficient preparation in mathematics, science and technology to support citizenship and literacy, and provide people with the skills to improve their lives in a world where capacity to develop and use S&T regulates the pace and distribution of economic development.
  • Science and mathematics should be included in basic education, and girls and boys should experience equal success in it.
  • Support and promotion of science, engineering and technology for females and males in secondary and tertiary education.
key leverage points7
Key leverage points
  • Use ICTs to promote S&T in non-formal education, S&T /community centers and media
  • Women and men are needed as teachers and faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to change the image of both males and females of “who does science and engineering.”
gaps in policy mdgs
GAPs in policy: MDGs
  • MDGs don’t take into account science and technology in poverty eradication: especially for rural low-income women
  • Fail to point to use of technologies to increase food security and improve production of women
world conference on science 1999
World Conference on Science, 1999
  • Several recommendations around science education, including a recognition of the gendered dimensions.
  • Paragraph 90 calls for all governments to “promote within the education system the access of girls and women to scientific education at all levels.”
wcs science education
WCS, Science education

41. Governments should improve science education at all levels, with particular attention to the elimination of the effects of gender bias …Promote professional development of teachers and educators and address the lack of appropriately trained science teachers and educators

43. New curricula, teaching methodologies and resources taking into account gender and cultural diversity should be developed by national education systems in response to the changing educational needs of societies.

wcs science education11
WCS Science Education
  • 47. Educational institutions should provide basic science education to students in areas other than science. They should also provide opportunities for lifelong learning in the sciences.
  • 49. Recognizing the resource constraints of developing countries, distance education should be used extensively to complement existing formal and non-formal education.
para 90 wcs
Para 90, WCS
  • Launch regional and global campaigns to raise awareness of the contribution of women to science and technology, in order to overcome existing gender stereotypes among scientists, policy-makers and the community at large;
  • improve conditions for recruitment, retention and advancement in all fields of research;
  • undertake research, supported by the collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data, documenting constraints and progress in expanding the role of women in science and technology;
para 90 wcs13
Para 90, WCS
  • monitor the implementation of and document best practices and lessons learned through impact assessment and evaluations;
  • ensure an appropriate representation of women in national, regional and international policy- and decision-making bodies and forums;
  • establish an international network of women scientists;
  • continue to document the contributions of women in science and technology
inter academy council inventing a better future 2005
Inter Academy Council: Inventing a Better Future, 2005
  • National education policies should aim to modernize education at the elementary- and secondary-school levels (ages 5-18); and they should emphasize inquiry-directed learning of principles and skills while highlighting the values of science.
  • High-quality training for science/technology teachers.
  • Science and engineering academies and other S&T organizations should be involved in teacher training materials for S&T education. Scientists should be encouraged to visit schools at all levels to promote science to the young.
iac promoting indigenous science capacity
IAC: Promoting indigenous science capacity
  • Attract, develop, and retain young scientists and engineers.
  • Provide S&T education at all levels.
  • Strengthen links with expatriate scientists and engineers.
  • Create and maintain digital libraries.
  • Build regional networks of collaboration.
gender advisory board uncstd 1995
Gender Advisory Board, UNCSTD, 1995
  • Transformative Action Area # 1: Gender Equity in S&T Education

Opportunity for Distance Education and Re-Entry to Schools:

    • Provide multiple opportunities for re-entering school, especially for young mothers (in some cultures, early marriage and teenage pregnancy are major reasons for girls leaving school).
    • Introduce education programs with flexible locations and times to enable more students, especially girls, to acquire scientific literacy.
    • Introduce new approaches to science and technology education such as distance learning, making optimal use of both old (radio) and new (multimedia)
world summit on the information society 2003
World Summit on the Information Society, 2003

11 g) Work on removing the gender barriers to ICT education and training and promoting equal training opportunities in ICT-related fields for women and girls. Early intervention programmes in science and technology should target young girls with the aim of increasing the number of women in ICT careers. Promote the exchange of best practices on the integration of gender perspectives in ICT education.

19d) Promote early intervention programmes in science and technology that should target young girls to increase the number of women in ICT careers.


World Summit on the Information Society, 2003

23. h) Gender-sensitive curriculain formal and non-formal education for all and enhancing communication and media literacy for women with a view to building the capacity of girls and women to understand and to develop ICT content.

28. d) Gender-specific indicators on ICT use and needs and and measurable performance indicators to assess the impact of ICT projects on the lives of women and girls.

  • International Report on Science, Technology and Gender, 2007
  • Report on educating girls in science and technology, 2006
  • Information toolkit on Gender-Disaggregated Indicators in Engineering, Science and Technology, 2007
  • Budapest +10, November 5-7, 2009
commission on the status of women 2011
Commission on the Status of Women, 2011
  • Theme of the 55th session in 2011: Women and girls in science and technologies: increasing opportunities in education, research and employment.
  • LAC members in 2011: Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Paraguay
  • 2010: Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico
thank you

Thank you.