On 19 May, GenderInSITE hosted a workshop at the OWSD 5th General Assembly and International Conference in Kuwait City, Kuwait on Applying a Gender Lens to (Your) Research. The workshop was attended by 115 participants from different backgrounds, disciplines, countries and at different career levels. It was coordinated by GenderInSITE director, Alice Abreu and designed and facilitated by Dalia Saad, a South Africa-based researcher with a background in environmental chemistry whose research now focuses on the intersections of gender and sustainable water management.
Objectives and Content of the Workshop
The workshop was intended for conference participants with an interest in gender in science issues who wanted to build their understanding of the gendered dynamics of scientific research through an interactive discussion. It was intended to be a quick capacity-building exercise to build awareness among young, upwardly mobile researchers, in order that they be able to apply a gender lens both to their own research and, as they advance to higher leadership positions, in their research groups and institutions as well.
- Help participants acquire some understanding of gender dynamics of scientific research;
- Help participants to think differently about gender issues in the scientific community;
- Help participants explore gender dimensions in different research fields;
- Help participants to look at gender dimensions/implications within their own area of research.
The programme started with an introductory presentation delivered by Dalia Saad. This presentation gave participants a quick overview of the concept of gender mainstreaming in scientific research and emphasized how gender can be used as a tool, a lens through which scientific research can take new dimensions and more innovative and advanced outcomes. The introduction also highlighted some examples of gender-related issues from different research fields including Medicine, Engineering, Climate change and Agriculture, and gendered implications within these fields. This was followed by an interactive group discussion among the participants, where they were able to share their views and experiences with regards to the questions:
- Is this research designed to consider both women and men equally?
- What are the implications of this research for women and men?
- Has the gender dimension ever been mentioned to you in the course of planning or executing your research by colleagues or supervisors?
- What do you think are potential gender dimensions to consider in your field? (Even if not to your research specifically).
Afterwards, participants were asked to split to thematic groups within each to discuss gender issues at three different phases in the research cycle, from planning and design to deployment and finally policy.
The discussion was rich, with all participants very interested and actively participating in the discussion. They analyzed gender issues in scientific research and in the scientific community in relation to variety of factors, including culture, society, family, policy making etc.
The table below summarizes the participants’ inputs and recommendations:
|Planning & Design
|Consider gender dimensions in the field.
|Ensure safety of laboratory facilities. Research can involve exposure to chemicals that are harmful to women.
Consider gender in university strategic planning and curriculum. Every institute must have a gender policy.
Include both men and women and ensure that women have full say in planning and design.
Deployment of research outputs should be gender equal.
Proper infrastructure for women in the work place. Workplace conditions can be uncomfortable (i.e. temperature), few toilet facilities, conditions for pregnant women are not ideal.
More grants for women’s studies, fellowships and exchange programs.
Equality in employment should take account of women’s needs. Provisions should be made for female scientists during their research tenure with regards to pregnancy and childbirth.
Include anthropogenic factors in research, even basic research, and use a gender lens in this to achieve gender disaggregated data.
Implement strategies and forums where women and girls can discuss openly.
Standard operating procedures and lab management practices should be gender neutral.
Evaluate results in relation to sex.
In male-dominated occupations, form women’s groups to attract funds (e.g. in fish farming).
Organize workshops and training for teachers to change their perceptions towards gender. Their activities and perceptions influence that of children at their developmental stages.
Include the same number of women & men (humans), or males/females (mice)
|Train women on how to produce organic manure as substitutes to ivory fertilizers.
Help teachers design instruction that is gender friendly.
In bee farming, results of anthropogenic factors on honey production should be disseminated to increase honey production.
Textbook authors should consider the gender perspective in their writing and pictorial presentations.
|Include gender as a requirement in scientific grant proposal applications and consider gender work in scientific awards.
Train policymakers in the gender dimensions of all issues.
|National-level policies for women in science as part of S&T development.
|Women should be part of policy – they should be policymakers.