Gender Equality and UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector: Historical perspective
All United Nations agencies, including UNESCO, are required to promote gender equality within the framework of their mandate. UNESCO is one of the leading specialized UN agencies with a mandate covering five programme areas – Education, Natural Science, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information. These core areas of UNESCO’s mandate are all crucial for advancing the global gender equality agenda.
Therefore, in 2008, gender equality was identified as one of UNESCO’s two main priorities. And, in order to achieve gender equality and promote women’s empowerment across its fields of competence, UNESCO employs a two-pronged approach:
- gender mainstreaming in all programmes and activities;
- gender-specific programming.
In this context and for more than 30 years, UNESCO's science policy team has conducted studies on the role of women in science, the gender dimensions of policies related to the development and application of science and technology for sustainable development, and has supported the publication of one of the most comprehensive manual on gender indicators in science and engineering.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) began to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) gender indicators in 2006, following an innovative methodology. In 2007, the UIS, together with UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector, published the first international report on science, technology and gender.
Key UNESCO publications:
- Comparative Study on Gender Dimension of Policies Related to the Development and Application of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, 2004.
- Gender Indicators in Science, Engineering and Technology. An Information Toolkit. Sophia Huyer and Gunnar Westholm, Science and Technology for Development series, Paris, 2007.
- “Women in science: Under-represented and under-measured”. UIS Bulletin on Science and Technology Statistics, Issue No. 3, November 2006.
- Science, Technology and Gender: An International Report. Science and Technology for Development series, Paris, 2007.