Gender in STEM research: Inception workshop
IDRC launched its call for proposals for the Gender in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (GIST) initiative in March 2021. GIST aims to advance gender analysis and women’s leadership in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) while promoting gender diversity and inclusion as key agents of transformative and high-impact research.
IDRC received close to 200 applications and selected six consortia-led research projects for funding. The selected GIST projects span 16 countries and more than 20 research institutions in Africa, South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The March 2022 online workshop brought the GIST teams together for the first time. The workshop’s main goals were to explore synergies, strengthen capacities, mobilize alliances for change and foster a sense of community. As one participant shared: “knowing that we are a huge community working together towards those changes is very inspiring.”
While each project has a specific thematic area of focus, ranging from water and climate science to open data and gender mainstreaming, the workshop helped participants identify key commonalities across the six projects. All teams will:
- Seek to promote gender inclusiveness
- Work in interdisciplinary teams
- Integrate research-action components
- Produce data on women’s presence and underrepresentation in STEM institutions
- Develop new pedagogical tools and methodologies to improve gender sensitivity and inclusiveness of STEM curricula, research and programs.
The workshop enabled participants to meet, albeit virtually, and share information about their projects. They exchanged feedback on methodologies and proposed activities, began to identify policy uptake pathways, and proposed ideas for continued engagement and collaboration on key areas including data sharing, policy advice and methodologies.
Beyond these results, the inception workshop provided an opportunity for project teams to visualize the policy impact they would want to achieve through their research. Gaining such insights sparked enthusiasm and momentum for the work ahead across teams. Teams are expected to report initial findings in early 2023.