Some female participants attending the African Scientific, Research and Innovation Council, ASRIC meeting have called on African governments and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for more women to join the sciences.
They stated this in separate interviews with Journalists in Mombasa, Kenya in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD)celebrated globally on March 8.
The theme for IWD 2023 is ‘Embracing equity’.
Prof. Mimmie Watts, from Federation University, Australia, said various researches on women in science, technology and innovation (STI) showed that there were fewer women in STEM at higher education and research institutions.
“A number of reasons are responsible including limited professional development opportunities provided to early career female researchers.
”Others are limited institutional support for work-life balance in science and discriminatory practices in hiring, promotion,among others,’’ she said.
Watts added that the gender disparity in STI was a societal one and needed all African governments to pull together in encouraging and supporting women and girls already in STEM.
Prof. Amany El-Sharif, Vice President, Pan African University Council, said that concerted efforts were needed to make the science and technology professions more enticing to young women and girls.
She said; “Women also thrive on the opportunities and challenges science and technology present to them.
“That is why it’s important for the governments and other stakeholders to address the issues working against women in science and technology.”
El-Sharif stated that with the right support, mentoring and opportunities, women were great potentials to the entire society.
Mrs Goka Christiana, an official of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), said, ”women should never be limited by gender if their roles are taken seriously in workplaces and institutions.
”Heads of organisations and Head of States should create possibilities for every woman around them to thrive.
“With the right support, mentoring and opportunities especially to women at the grassroots, the great potential in women will be brought out.’’