Traditionally, women have been and are underrepresented in most scientific and engineering disciplines. With the exception of biological and medical sciences - where in some countries women are at or near 50% - they are generally represented at below 30% in most disciplines, and often make up less than 20% in areas such as engineering and physics. Even when women participate in greater numbers, their percentage decreases at the higher, decision-making levels. In particular their membership in national science academies in the region is very low - nowhere is it above 30%, and in most countries it is under 20%.
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, and to alert and advise IANAS on gender issues in its programmes and initiatives, through activities such as providing links to resources. 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 will also work closely 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.
The Elsevier Foundation, TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) announced recognizing eleven talented women scientists from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their research excellence. Please see detailed information at: http://owsdw.ictp.it/...