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Tag Archive | "gender and sexuality"

Women in Science and Technology (Latin-America): What Does the Literature Say?

Women in Science and Technology: What Does the Literature Say? Source: Inter-American Development Bank

Skill gaps are a key constraint to innovation, hindering productivity growth and economic development. In particular, shortages in the supply of trained professionals in disciplines related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) may weaken the innovation potential of a society. A wide gender gap has persisted over the years at all levels of STEM disciplines throughout the world. Although the participation of women in higher education has increased, they are still underrepresented. Latin America is no exception. The untapped potential of fully trained and credentialed women represents an important lost opportunity not only for women themselves but also for society as a whole. Although there is growing recognition of the importance of the issue in developing countries, Latin America faces a lack of information that prevents researchers from deepening the understanding of this phenomenon and policymakers from designing effective interventions. This note aims to contribute to the academic and policy debate in the region by reviewing the main factors put forward in the literature to explain gender inequalities in recruitment, retention, and promotion in STEM disciplines and by providing evidence of the scope and results of policies directed to obtain a better gender balance in the sector.

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Full Text Reports: Women and Conflict in Afghanistan

Women and Conflict in Afghanistan (PDF)
Source: International Crisis Group

As the presidential election approaches in 2014, with the security transition at the year’s end, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. Afghanistan’s stabilisation ultimately rests on the state’s accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.

Following the Taliban’s ouster, Afghan women worked hard to reverse the damage wrought by more than two decades of a civil war that deprived them of the limited progress towards gender equality experienced in earlier times. As a result of international support, donor aid and their own efforts, women are now an essential part of the post-Taliban order and have played a major role in reconstructing the state and its institutions. 40 per cent of all schoolchildren are girls. Women are more than 27 per cent of parliament. They are in the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and are lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists and civil society activists.

In the last twelve years, women’s legal status has improved considerably. Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution. The Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law criminalises rape for the first time. The state is now legally bound to protect women from violence. The ministry of women’s affairs (MOWA) and the government’s National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA) place empowerment at the heart of state building. Yet, women still struggle to avail themselves of their rights and to consolidate and advance their progress.

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