Graham Haylor, Director
IFS believes that mainstreaming a gender perspective in Science, Technology and Innovation could enrich the world’s innovative problem-solving and decision-making capacity. We also believe that empowering women in science can enhance social equity, women’s rights and contribute to the more effective achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the attainment of sustainable development. This is a priority within the IFS strategy and is based on the premise that it is not only an international obligation to strive for gender equity in science, but a wise approach to science management and governance.
In celebration of the achievements of women in science and development, and to help to highlight the needs and concerns of women on national, regional and global agendas, IFS marks March 8th 2012 by announcing that it is joining a consortium of African organizations and international development partners in support of “The Africa-Wide Women and Young Professionals in Science Competition and Awards” to promote excellence in science and innovation in agriculture. The competition will not only recognize and promote the achievements of women but also of young men scientists to undertake more pioneering research to provide answers to the African continent’s pressing problems.
It is 35 years since the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming March 8th as a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. Global statistics indicate that not only are women unequally represented in science, they are also less likely than men to be involved in the planning, research, development or application of science. The underrepresentation of senior women scientists limits the role models, mentors and professional networks available to girls.
IFS aims to support women within developing world science, especially African research, and to enrich the scientific enterprise with the added diverse themes and perspectives that can be derived from a more balanced gender representation.
The approach aligns with the Norwegian Committee for Mainstreaming Women in Science, and contributes to the global agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment implied by Millennium Development Goal 3. The focus on Africa reflects the identified needs that are found to be most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting the African Union declaration of 2010-2020 as the African Women’s Decade, which includes a thematic focus on the promotion of women in science and technology.