Women in Science: UNESCO Regional Mapping Identifies Persistent Gender Disparities

UNESCO supported a regional mapping on Women in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) needs and assets conducted by the Centre for Society and Policy, Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore. 

With the aim to explore and understand the significant need and assets for promoting the Women in SETI ecosystem at national and global levels, the study examined the resource allocation and prioritization for strengthening participation and promotion of women in science education and related careers in five countries representing the Asia-Pacific region, namely, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Republic of Korea, Uzbekistan and Samoa between January and April 2021. 

The study identified the gaps and challenges in resources, policies, and practices that hinder women's participation in SETI in the selected countries and suggested plausible ways forward. The study report provides a comparative analysis of profiled countries and a policymakers' guide based upon the study's findings. 

Most of the pilot countries have achieved or are in the process of achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education. Through their legal and policy interventions, they attempt to improve women's participation and performance in education and the labour force. 

Despite those efforts, gender disparity persists at the higher education level, compounded by a lack of awareness and sensitization to address socio-cultural misconceptions at all stages of education. 

Unequal labour force participation is also a major challenge as well as women are primary caregivers to the family and children under prevailing social norms in all five countries. Along with that, women also face many institutional constraints arising due to male-dominated work culture, which hamper women's participation in leadership positions.

Read the full report on Needs and Assets Mapping: Women in SETI in Asia-Pacific Countries.

This activity reinforced the attainment of the 2030 Agenda, especially on Sustainable Development Goals 5, 9 and 17. 

For further information, please contact Dr Ai Sugiura (