AU commission seeks more African women participation in science, technology


The African Union (AU) Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (STRC) has called for the participation of more of the continent’s women in engineering, science and technology.

The Executive Director of the commission, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, made the call on Wednesday while delivering a Report on STRC Programmes and Activities to the Committee of 10 African Ambassadors on Science, Technology and Innovation at a meeting in Abuja.

Friends of Africa Ambassadors and Partners were privy to the report.

Hamdy said that the call became necessary bearing in mind the need for women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population in Africa to contribute their quota to engineering, scientific and technological research and development.

He attributed the low level participation of women in science and technology to cultural and religious issues militating against the capacity of women to express themselves.

The executive director said that it was in a bid to enhance the participation of more African women in science that STRC with support of UNESCO and Merck embarked on a desk study and public consultation.

According to him, more than 200 young and mid-career female scientists were consulted and the outcome published.

He said that the study identified intervention mechanisms to be put in place for enhanced women participation in science.

Hamdy said that the mechanisms were structured into two parts, with the first relating to the review of the gross enrollment ratio of male and female cutting across primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary institutions.

He explained that in the first part, issues of gender disparity/equality were considered in order to achieve a paradigm shift in support for women in science.

The second part, he said, dwelt on a strategic analysis conducted on a focused group of 200 mid-career scientists with the overall objective of enhancing technical and professional competencies to accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy.

The executive director stated that the second part of the exercise led to increased number of sensitisation/capacity building programmes for female scientists and began to focus on political commitment to female participation in science.

According to him, the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), is one of the three distinct strategies
for advancing education and science, technology and innovation in Africa.

He said that the commission was working assiduously to ensure that science and technology took its rightful place in the national life of AU member states.

On Africa’s science and technology innovation challenges as they relate to climate change, Hamdy said that the commission had worked out modalities of building the capacity member states to access Green Climate Funds and Adaptation Funds from partners such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives from Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Burundi, Egypt and Chad were at the meeting.

Others represented at the one-day meeting were Norway, South Korea, Argentina and India. (NAN)

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