Conference theme:  Women, Science and Development

In order to approach the complex and wide-ranging challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, societies around the world must access and harness all the talent and experience available to them. The concerns and perceptions of the greatest number of all possible actors and recipients must be considered in order that the most relevant issues and effective solutions are found. Women are considerably underrepresented as researchers in STEM subjects around the globe; according to UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) data, in 2019 the global average percentage of women researchers was still below 30%. Yet women typically have first hand specialist knowledge of the day-to-day challenges diverse individuals face within communities, and can be key informers in the design and development of their solutions. Moreover, since women are most often the providers of informal community support, if they are not fully informed—and if solutions are developed without their consultation—it may be the case that products, services and solutions are not relevant or appropriate. Technological advances may mean improved machines on large farms, for example, potentially increasing food production, but since the key points of food insecurity in the world are on small-scale farms managed by women throughout the Global South, such capital investments will have little impact in the areas where food production is most critical—and where women’s knowledgeable implementation of appropriate innovative technologies could make the most difference.