GeJuSTA – Gender Justice in Stem research in AfricaWomen change-makers and male allies focused on tackling the underrepresentation of women in STEM
As a consortium partner of GeJuSTA, SPIDER has been part of the appraising of publications and their exposition of women in STEM in Africa. GeJuSTA is specifically focused on creating more pathways for women researchers in STEM in the region.
To enable more women and minority groups opportunities in the digital realm, it is imperative that more access to the innovation economy is made possible for them. The yawning innovation gap for women and other minority groups continues to feed digital inequalities. To support women and girls in contributing to the digital economy beyond being mere consumers, they must be allowed entry into innovation spaces.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) have gained attention as critical channels for more women and girls to contribute to, and join the innovation economy. With the right qualification in STEM, the innovation economy may be more receptive to the entry of women and minorities into innovation processes. There are limited numbers of women and girls in STEM fields in the world over and therefore more investments in the education systems, and in organizational and social structures that invite and encourage more women and girls to innovate are gaining traction. Reducing the innovation gap through STEM investments will ensure more women and girls are contributing to the digital transformations that they are living through.
GeJuSTA is specifically focused on looking at creating more pathways for women researchers in STEM in Africa. As a consortium partner SPIDER has been part of the appraising publications and their exposition of women in STEM in the region. Scientific publications have very scant data on women in STEM and this finding was problematic in that while these women exist, their stories do not make it to scientific publications – or is this just half the story?
When we looked at development themed publications, and in popular science channels, grey publications, blogs and social media, these avenues were replete with women in STEM across the four fields. What we have found is that Western definitions of science, publications and for that matter STEM fail to include women from the margins. This finding supports the critical role of projects such as GeJuSTA in ensuring that women in STEM who are on the margins are validated.
GeJuSTA is an IDRC funded programme that is divided across four work streams that are working towards increasing the representation and engagement of women in STEM from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Forthcoming activities will evaluate how to engage with women in STEM who are situated at cross roads of inequities.