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Constructing public policy for effective participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Bolivia

In Bolivia, gender stereotypes and prejudices compromise the quality of learning for female students and limit their education, employment, and career options. A recent study confirms low female participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), persistent barriers for undergraduate female students and faculty in STEM fields, and a widening gender gap in high-ranked positions.

This project will support a consortium, led by the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo, to apply an intersectional lens (ethnic-cultural, generational, regional, and socioeconomic) to assess gender gaps and identify systematic barriers to the insertion, permanence, and advancement of women in STEM-based study programs and professions. The project will design, pilot, monitor, and promote institutional policies to close the gender and intersectional gap in specific STEM areas and curb vertical segregation in STEM fields. It will also formulate national-level policy to increase women’s participation in STEM fields of study and employment and it seeks to improve women’s career progression in science and technology.

To account for the country’s ethnic and socio-cultural diversity, field research and interventions will involve 11 universities and other organizations based in five cities. The project is expected to contribute to positive change in attitudes and behaviours of staff at educational institutions, groups of researchers, policymakers, employers, and parents.

This project was selected for funding as part of the call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

Project ID
Project Status
60 months
IDRC Officer
Alejandra Vargas Garcia
Total Funding
CA$ 514,900.00
Foundations for Innovation
Institution Country
Project Leader
Mariana Santa Cruz
Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo""

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