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Gender, Science and Technology

The gender dimension of science and technology has become one of the most important and debated issues worldwide. Over the past 30 years, the United Nations General Assembly and UN Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC) have emphasized issues related to inequalities, insufficiencies and disparities in the access of women to education, training and the labour market.

Various major international initiatives on the subject have been undertaken, including the United Nations Decades on Women and Development (1975–1995), and special attention has been directed towards the role of women in science and technology. Gender equality is one of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which clearly call for action related to science, technology and gender.

In this context, and given its mandate in Science, UNESCO is expected to play a major role in addressing the above-mentioned issues, implementing related recommendations and advocating and affirming the crucial role of women and the gender dimension in science and technology through its programmes and activities.

UNESCO supports several UNESCO Chairs for women in science in Kenya, Sudan, Argentina and Burkina Faso.

UNESCO also promotes networks of women scientists and cooperates with the  Third World Organization for Women in Science. Among the networks supported by UNESCO is the Science, Technology and Innovation for Women (STI4W) group in Tanzania. UNESCO's office in Dar-es-Salaam has provided a Task Force of the STI4W with evidence-based data to support the group's work and completed a survey in 2011 of the participation of women in industries based on science, engineering and technology.

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