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Published: 2018-02-11

IFS joined others around the world to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February. The capacity enhancing program of IFS addresses the importance of gender-sensitive training and research. It aims to incorporate a gender perspective into research objectives, methodology, results and use, as well as a consideration of the gender impacts of research. As such, the approach goes beyond only involving women in training and research.

From 5-9 February 2018, IFS engaged in a workshop on Research Proposal Writing held in partnership with the University of Limpopo (UL) in South Africa. The workshop attracted 13 promising scientists (seven women and six men), all in the early stages of their PhD studies, i.e., either just registered for their PhD studies at UL, or in the process of writing a research proposal for submission for registration as PhD students.

 With 11 February approaching to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, IFS thought the workshop could also be a platform to hit the ground running with discussions about advancing and creating gender-inclusive environments to enable women and girls to succeed in realizing their potential. Through discussion, it became clear that cultural factors such as gender bias prevented girls’ and women’ participation in scientific research. Participants noted that there are a number of understanding men who are ready to acknowledge that this a challenge and to help out in remedying this constraint. However, there is still a long way to go as there a good number of men who still curtail girls’ and women’s career growth in science and in other opportunities.

 The participants noted that women need to push more in their efforts to stick together and be more helpful to each other via a spirit of cooperation. The discussion was engaging and spilt over to pointing out the importance of role models and the difficulties women face while engaging in their PhD studies. For example, there were highlights on the need to make family sacrifices and on the differences in the amount of time men and women have to do their research work. This was a wake-up call that challenged both the women and men at the workshop.

 A request came up as to whether IFS could announce a research grant call for early-career women only. Another suggestion was that IFS could consider the possibility of facilitating women to participate in workshops by having child caregivers come along also, or by providing financial support for home childcare for the duration of the workshop.

Read  also;

Lancets series on Women In Science


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