African Women in Science Leadership Webinar

African Women in Science Leadership Webinar

Under-representation of women across different levels of the global scientific system is a widely recognised barrier to more equitable and effective scientific solutions to global problems.

In 2018, GenderInSITE published the report Pathways to Success: Bringing a Gender Lens to the Scientific Leadership of Global Challenges. This report explores success stories of women scientists who have reached the top echelons of their fields, illuminating key lessons for other women scientists. It also offers important insights for policymakers and institutions for making progress toward a more open and equal equitable scientific system. To this end, START and GenderInSITE resolved to convene diverse perspectives and voices of scientific leaders from across Africa on supporting pathways to success for African women scientists through a series of webinars in order to:

  • Learn more from one another about what scientific leadership looks like for women working in African contexts and what unique challenges and opportunities are found along the pathways to scientific success;
  • Explore ideas on how, and what kind of strategic capacity development could help further gender equality and equity in scientific institutions and policy in African countries; and
  • Critically examine challenges that could plausibly arise for these strategic capacity development efforts and what could be done to mitigate those.

The first webinar titled “African Women in Science Leadership” was held on 29 October 2020. The webinar was structured as an exploratory discussion based on GenderInSITE’s report and a presentation on the report’s findings and recommendations was made by Prof. Roseanne Diab, Director, GenderInSITE. Thereafter, the participants discussed in breakout groups pre-prepared questions and rapporteurs provided feedback during a plenary session. The discussion questions were mainly:

  • What are the top barriers and enablers that should be considered in supporting African women’s pathways to success in scientific leadership?
  • How and what types of capacity strengthening could help support the identified enablers and overcome the barriers to success?

Participants were drawn from various African and overseas countries including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Germany, Italy and the USA.