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News | 27 June 2017

GenderInSITE-Elsevier Foundation workshop will explore intersection of gender and innovation in the developing world

From 4-6 September, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) will host a GenderInSITE-Elsevier Foundation workshop in Pretoria, South Africa on Gender and Innovation: Implications for Sustainable Development

Since its 1994 report on Gender, Science, Technology and Development, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) has highlighted the differential impact that new technologies often have on the lives of women and men and the importance of “Science for Women”. It is vital to encourage greater interaction between the producers and users of knowledge and to ensure that both women and men benefit when new technologies are introduced in development projects. The approval in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN has brought the issue to the centre of the contemporary discussion in the scientific world.

The objective of the workshop, which is coordinated by Prof. Roseanne Diab, GenderInSITE Regional Focal Point for Southern Africa and the Executive Officer of ASSAf, is to explore the role of gender in innovation as a key issue for developing countries and to identify the most promising practices and their impact in the lives of both men and women. The pioneering work done in the North on “gendered innovations” will be discussed from the perspective of the South, identifying new areas of research and the need for specific indicators. The workshop will also look at how to improve communication between the producers and users of knowledge in this field, since this will be essential to the effective implementation of the SDGs.

The workshop will gather experts on the theme from Universities and research centres, local innovation experts, government representatives and development and funding agencies, to discuss those themes and to identify recommendations to policy- and decision-makers. This will be achieved through a three-day facilitated round table discussion, where the participants will be asked to use their experience and knowledge to address three main issues:

  • The first aspect is Gendered Innovations - where innovations are designed to meet the separate needs of both women and men. The workshop will explore the relevance of this work to the developing world, reflecting upon the pioneering work being done in the North.
  • The second is more directly linked to gender and scientific research, and the outcomes of the scientific knowledge production. By applying the gender lens and carrying out gender assessments it is anticipated that the differential impacts on the lives of men and women will be identified and action taken to redress negative impacts. The workshop will review work that has already been done on this theme in developing countries in selected topics.
  • A third aspect to be addressed in the workshop will be an analysis of how the first two aspects can contribute to greater gender equity in the attainment of the SDGs.

The workshop will additionally aim to identify recommendations and suggestions to policy- and decision-makers, as well as discussing methods used to communicate the results.