Gender Matters Discussed at SFSA

25 March 2019, 08:32


The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has been a partner of the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) since 2015, seeking to ignite conversations about development through its various initiatives and programmes. Two gender discussions took place on 13 December 2018 at the SFSA.

Gender Equality is Imperative for the Advancement of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) for Development

This session was sponsored by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) South African National Chapter (SANC) and Gender in Science, Innovation, Technology and Engineering (GenderInSITE), both of which are hosted by ASSAf. Prof Roseanne Diab, former Executive Officer of ASSAf, now Director GenderInSITE moderated the discussions. The deliberations focused on how gender equality can advance STI. This session also discussed the value of promoting women as early career scientists and technologists. The ‘leaky pipeline’ phenomenon was raised as a critical developmental challenge. This discussion also ignited conversations around solutions and suggested ways in which national governments can support female scientists. This session was co-hosted with the OWSD SANC.

Women in Science, Engineering and Technology –A SADC perspective
The panel discussion focused on the rationale, modalities, opportunities and challenges for forming national Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WISET) Chapters for Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, in terms of the SADC Gender Charter. It also made note of case studies from member states in forming National Chapters. The discussion addressed the value-addition of such chapters in the industrialisation of SADC and Africa and the commitment of government, science academies, universities, civil society and the private sector in supporting the WISET National Chapters within SADC. The speakers were policymakers, academics, civil society and private sector players who deal with women scientists in SADC. The focus of the discussions reflected on the challenges and effectiveness of women in science organisations in their networking, convening power, mentorship and speaking as a collective to policy, the challenges they face and how to go forward. The discussion highlighted ways of encouraging other SADC member states to form WISET National Chapters and effectively link and coordinate already existing women in science organisations for their mutual benefit. This session was sponsored by ASSAf, GenderInSITE and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).