On 4-6 September, a group of international experts on gender and innovation gathered in Pretoria, South Africa for the GenderInSITE-Elsevier Foundation workshop on Gender and Innovation: Implications for Sustainable Development.
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) coordinated this workshop, was held at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).
The workshop examined the role of gender in innovation specifically as it is relevant to developing countries, to identify the most promising practices from the work already done on gendered innovations in the North, and how they these might be adapted to the South in order to help countries reach the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the three-day workshop, experts from academic and other research institutions, local innovation experts, government representatives and development and funding agencies discussed these themes and developed a number of recommendations to policy- and decision-makers. Common themes of the discussions included the importance of improving support for women entrepreneurs in the informal sector, for whom standard practices to promote innovation may not be appropriate, as well as the need to make policymakers and other stakeholders understand the economic, social and environmental consequences of not taking gender into account when developing strategies relating to the SDGs.
Among the conclusions that emerged from the workshop was the recognition of a strong need for case studies from various regions of the South illustrating the benefits of applying a gender lens to innovation-based development solutions – as well as the risks of not doing so – and targeted at policymakers as well as potential funders of development projects and programmes that take a science- or innovation-based approach. A video created by keynote speaker Londa Schiebinger, whose Gendered Innovations project provided a starting point for much of the discussion, was presented as one such illustrative example focusing on the high-tech sector.
The workshop was livestreamed on the ASSAf Facebook page, where videos of the full sessions can still be viewed: https://www.facebook.com/academyofsa/. A full report on the workshop will be produced by ASSAf and made available on the GenderInSITE website as well.