Pretoria: The Department of Women’s Director General, Jenny Schreiner, says women are still not getting involved in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines at a satisfactory rate.
This is despite efforts to give women greater access to education. Women are still concentrated in other disciplines and most professions continue to be sex-segregated, Schreiner said on Wednesday at the Gender Summit 5 Africa in Cape Town.
The summit aims to make gender equality the norm in science and to make it a primary dimension of research and innovation quality. It is part of a series of summits taking place across the globe in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Schreiner represented the Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, at the summit. She said the fact that women are not rapidly increasing their numbers in the workforce shows that access to education is not the only answer to the challenges women face.
“It is only one part of what should be a multi-dimensional approach. There is no simple solution and special attention must be given to encouraging women and girls in all the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
“For the law and its institutions to play a meaningful role in the fulfilment of the constitutional vision of universal access to education and learning, we need to ensure systemic equality in all aspects of the law on education and closing the gap between what the law says and access to education, especially the STEM fields,” Schreiner said.
Sustainable Development Goals
Gender Summit Africa takes place at a strategic moment where the global community is intensifying efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, moving towards the Sustainable Development Goals and shaping a post-2015 development agenda.
Schreiner challenged the Department of Women and its partners to ensure that gender is mainstreamed into every goal post 2015.
She also warned that the use of women’s talents must not be viewed only from the perspective of gender equity.
“It must be understood that full involvement of women in scientific and technological efforts is today essential for rapid economic development and sustainable happiness.
“We must therefore ensure that more women are encouraged to enter the fields of science, technology and innovation as a mechanism of ensuring gender sensitive research.”
Schreiner said the Gender Summit Africa must encourage countries to train more African women in the fields of science, technology and innovation.
“I believe that these objectives are best taken forward through a global movement of scientists interested in gender analysis and in using science to answer the developmental questions that women face, particularly the challenges experienced by the poorest of the poor in their daily lives,” she said.
The summit started on 28 and will end on 30 April 2015.
SOURCE: South African Official News