Are Current Gender Programmes That Support Women Scientists Relevant in the 21st Century?

Are Current Gender Programmes That Support Women Scientists Relevant in the 21st Century? 2016-10-21T11:08:18+00:00

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Chair: Prof Jennifer Thomson, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, South Africa
Panellist: Dr Tonya Blowers, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, Italy
Panellist: Dr Naser Faruqui, International Development Research Centre, Canada
Panellist: Prof Olubukola Babalola, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, South Africa
Panellist: Dr Nozipho Motsa, University of Zululand, South Africa / Swaziland
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One of the critical challenges facing countries in the developing world, and in this context Africa, is the continuing underrepresentation of women in science & technology, education and leadership. Statistics continue to show that there are few girls and women taking up Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) subjects and careers, and that there are gaps in the STI pipeline influenced by amongst other factors, socio-cultural, discriminatory practices within the workplace, and work-life personal equilibrium constraints. With the aim of bridging the gender gap in STI, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and various other organisations provide female scientists with opportunities that support their career development. OWSD is led by a President and Vice Presidents from four regions, namely: Africa, Arab, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, OWSD has members committed to building up the number and quality of women scientists in their countries by actively mentoring young female scientists. The panel discussion will focus on the importance of gender programmes and initiatives that promote gender equality in STI in the region and globally. The focus will be on the three flagship gender programmes of OWSD, which are the PhD fellowship programme, the prestigious and highly visible Elsevier awards for young women scientists and the membership network. The South African national chapter will lead the session by highlighting its achievements in meeting the objectives of the organisation and the critical role that the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) plays (which hosts it) in facilitating gender in STI discussions with decision-makers.
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thomsonProf Jennifer Thomson
Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), South Africa
Chair

Jennifer Thomson (PhD Rhodes) is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard, was Associate Professor in Genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand, visiting scientist at MIT, and Director of the Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology for the CSIR, before becoming Head of the Department of Microbiology at UCT in 1988. She won the L’Oreal/UNESCO prize for Women in Science for Africa in 2004 and has an Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University. Her research field is the development of genetically modified maize resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus and tolerant to drought. She has published three books on Genetically Modified Organisms: Genes for Africa, Seeds for the Future, and Food for Africa, and is a frequent speaker at international meetings, including the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. She is a member of the board (previously Chair) of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), based in Nairobi and Vice-Chair of ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of AgriBiotech Applications). She serves on the National Advisory Council on Innovation of the South African Minister of Science and Technology. She is the President of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and chairs the South African chapter.
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blowersDr Tonya Blowers
Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), Italy
Panellist

Tonya Blowers is Programme Coordinator for the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) based in Trieste, Italy. She has a PhD in Women and Gender from the University of Warwick (UK) and has developed science communication courses for PhD students in neuroscience, biology, physics and mathematics. Before joining OWSD, Tonya was Staff Writer at TWAS (the World Academy of Science), editing the TWAS Newsletter and website and contributing many articles on science in developing countries.
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faruquiDr Naser Faruqui
International Development Research Centre, Canada
Panellist

Naser Faruqui is Director, Technology and Innovation. Previous roles at IDRC include Senior Program Officer with the Environment and Natural Resource Management program, and Team Leader for the Urban Poverty and Environment program. He has also worked as Chief, Water Coordination and Transboundary Water Issues at Environment Canada. He has published widely on water management issues, including the groundbreaking Water Management in Islam (UN University Press, 2001). He holds a master’s in environmental engineering from the University of Ottawa, and an Executive MBA from Queen’s University.
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babalolaProf Olubukola Babalola
Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, South Africa
Panellist

Prof Olubukola Babalola is NRF rated and holds a PhD (Microbiology) with two postdoctoral experiences in state-of-the-art research laboratories (Israel and South Africa). Olubukola has over 15 years of broad administrative, teaching, community service and research track records. Over 80 scholars of Microbiology have graduated under her research mentorship. Her expertise are acquired from specific experience within the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria; International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria; University of California at Berkeley; Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and the North-West University, SA. She joined the latter in 2009 and she is now the Director, Food Security and Safety.
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motsaDr Nozipho Motsa
University of Zululand, South Africa / Swaziland
Panellist

Nozipho Motsa is a confident Swazi woman from Manzini, a town located at the hub of Swaziland. Born in a developing country and a humble home, being an Agronomist/Crop Scientist was imperative to assist alleviating food insecurity and poverty. She took agriculture as a compulsory subject at primary school, and little did she know that she was already choosing a career path. She studies Agriculture and the University of Swaziland and graduated with a BSc degree (majors in crop production) in 2002. She was later appointed by the same university as a teaching assistant in 2004. That was the beginning of the scientific career. After graduating with MSc (Agric) Agronomy from University of Pretoria in 2007, she went back to the same university as a lecturer. She has conducted scientific work on geranium (Perlargonium spp) essential oil during her studies. Her PhD is from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she studied agronomic and physiological responses of sweet potato cultivars to drought. She is now based at University of Zululand where she is continuing with her scientific work on food security issues especially on indigenous crops. She also conducted work on maize (Zea mays) production using vinnase/stillage.
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