Women for Science
Traditionally, women have been underrepresented in scientific and engineering research and in the technical work force. Even though women are presently entering these fields in greater numbers, their careers tend to remain confined to the lower ranks of the hierarchy and women are still poorly represented at the decision-making levels. In particular, women’s membership in national science academies in the region is low - nowhere is it above 30%, and in most countries it is under 20%; women academy presidents remain a rarity.
Science and technology (S&T) capacity building in the region will require the full engagement and participation of women from the top decision-making levels all the way down to the grassroots. Moreover, a greater diversity of life experience and points of view will enrich the S&T enterprise as well as the societies it serves.
Barriers to women's participation may vary somewhat from country to country, but share many common features: absence of role models - especially in the higher ranks of the hierarchy, isolation as minorities in a traditionally male discipline, the omitting or undervaluing of the contributions of women in science, and traditional cultural perceptions about the role of women.
Under the sponsorship of IAP, the Global Network of Science Academies, IANAS established the Women for Science Working Group (WfS-WG) in June 2010.
- The IANAS WfS-WG has the mandate to advise IANAS and its member academies on fostering a climate in the sciences that is welcoming to women. It develops actions that increase the visibility of the contributions of women scientists and engineers in the region and provides these women with opportunities for networking by means of the WfS-WG web site.
- WfS-WG alerts and advises IANAS on gender aspects of its programmes and initiatives: those aspects that affect men and women differently. It does this by appointing liaisons and contributing speakers to each of the IANAS Programs; and by providing links to gender resources for each program on the WfS web page. It also alerts the IANAS development-oriented technical programs to the necessity to engage the beneficiaries as partners, to respect their cultures and to understand their needs.
- WfS-WG members are associated with North American, Latin American and worldwide organizations that focus on engaging and empowering women in S&T.
This site was developed by Sophia Huyer, member of WfS-WG representing the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD); the site is managed jointly by OWSD and IANAS on behalf of the Women for Science Working Group.