The lack of technology support for women’s activities is not adequately understood or taken into account in policy or programming, while the numbers of women in the science, technology and innovation fields are alarmingly low in the world’s leading economies, and are actually on the decline in many, including the United States. WISAT Executive Director Sophia Huyer called attention to this situation at the Elsevier Foundation – Celebrating Emerging Leaders in Science Dinner, February 15, 2013 in Boston.
Women’s productive activities are not supported by technology and resources to the same extent as those of men, so that their on- and off-farm enterprises have lower levels of productivity. Women and girls’ daily activities are critical for the health and sustainability of households, yet, they too are poorly supported by technology. On the other hand, supporting women and understanding gender differences in productivity and access to resources can result in dramatic change: according to the FAO, equalizing access to productive resources for female farmers – fertilizers, extension, technology and credit – could increase agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 – 4 % and result in 100 to 150 million fewer hungry people globally.
WISAT, the Organization for Women in the Developing World (OWSD), the Gender Advisory Board (CSTD) and the Elsevier Foundation are collaborating in two major initiatives to address these discrepancies: the National Assessments on Gender and STI; and GenderInSITE. Huyer’s remarks can be downloaded here.