Participation of Women and Girls in the National Science, Technology and Innovation System in South Africa

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:10 AM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Nelius BOSHOFF , Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Dorothy NGILA , Liaison, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Pretoria, South Africa
The importance of documenting data on the inclusion and participation of women and girls in a society’s science, technology and innovation (STI) system cannot be underestimated. The paper presents results from the Gender Equality and the Knowledge Society Framework indicators: an enabling policy environment, opportunity and capability, and women in Science and Technology and innovation systems to understand the status of women and girls in different spheres of South Africa’s reality as well as their participation in the knowledge society. It is argued that the policy environment in South Africa has ensured that a gender machinery has been put into place and operates in all the realms of government. A lack of funding, human resources’ constraints and insufficient coordination mechanisms have hampered the effective implementation of some of the policies. Statistics around access to quality education for girls and boys are provided and a discussion around some specific projects and mechanisms that have been put in place to encourage the uptake by girls of science and mathematics at school level are presented as case studies of the opportunities available to ensure gender parity in STI education. Lastly data is presented on women’s participation in the STI system in South Africa. South Africa has an aging, predominantly white male, scientific and engineering workforce. In this regard, there is a need to focus on both tertiary level education as well as women in science leadership in the country