Gender Workshop 2 themed “Empowerment of Women in Basic Sciences Towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” was held on 29th September, 2023 from 9.00 am - 2.00 pm at the Arziki Conference Hall, Chiromo Campus, University of Nairobi. It was organized by the Inorganic Chemistry Research Group (KEN01) project funded by the International Science Program (ISP), Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Department of Chemistry, University of Nairobi.
It was a continuation of Gender Workshop 1 which was held on 28th July 2022 in the same venue. The first workshop was part of the activities aimed at celebrating the UNESCO-declared International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD2022) with a strong focus on the strong links between basic sciences and the SDGs.
Although women have been identified as part of the critical pillars in the attainment of sustainable development, statistics show a very low composition of ladies in the basic science departments in academia, research institutions, public sector and industry. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2019), less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. African Academy of Sciences (2020) has also reported that the percentage of women pursuing degrees in STEM areas is even smaller in Africa. In the global south, 60-90% of women are known to engage in agriculture productivities compared to STEM education.
Against this backdrop, participants in Gender Workshop 1 sought to evaluate women's roles and opportunities in basic sciences towards achieving the SDGs. They highlighted the challenges facing women in basic sciences and discussed the strategies on how women can contribute more significantly to SDGs.
Building on the success of the first workshop, participants in Gender Workshop 2 sought to follow-up on the impact of its discussions and deliberations. They also discussed how to break barriers in basic sciences at all levels and how the new competence-based curriculum (CBC) will impact the contribution of women in basic sciences. Among key issues discussed were selected gender-based workplace policies that women should know.
Participants were drawn from different universities, academic and technical staff, secondary and primary school teachers, postgraduate students and alumni.