By Brenda Zulu
The gender indicator is worth monitoring overtime, as it will show whether there is growth in participation of women in the scientific career in Africa.
Presenting Chapter 3 on Research and experimental development of the African Innovation Outlook 2010, Prof Dr Claes Brudenius, from the Research Policy Institute Lund University in Sweden said under the allocation of human resources among the sectors the female participation ratio for women employed as researchers and as support staff was similar.
Prof Brudenius presenting Table 3.11: under research and development personnel and researchers said the statistics were devoted to research and development in the survey year. He pointed out that the allocation of these human resources among the sectors described the available research and development personnel and their actual utilisation in conducting research as well as the qualifications of researchers and their distribution by gender.
In the African Innovation Outlook 2010, the statistics indicating the human resources devoted to research and development in the survey year, more specifically in relation to gender, the data shows that Tanzania and South Africa lead in terms of the participation of women performing research and development, since women account for 40 % of all researchers in those two countries. The next highest percentages of women researchers were found in Mozambique and Uganda.
An encouraging feature is that there is no big difference between female participation ratios, whether they are employed as researchers or as support staff. This means that there has been important growth in the participation of women in scientific careers in Africa, although the low ratio in Mali should be the subject of further analysis and reflection.
“The publication of the first African Innovation Outlook 2010 is an important milestone, though we are all aware that much more needs to be done. We need to see more women in the African Innovation Outlook,’ said Anton Johnston, Counsellor for regional Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden.
NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) has also observed that globally the enhancement of the gender dimension is quite weak in most development sector is designing.
“It is a very serious issue as African countries we should tackle and it is most effectively,” said Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO NPCA.
“We know there are some best practices in some countries to enhance women in the science field, we will do the best we can and we will look after the fact of mainstreaming these factors in the second phase of the African Science technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTll) Initiative.
“Concrete measure will be taken in order to address the gender gap in research and development,” said Dr Mayaki.
According the African Innovation Outlook 2010, research and development surveys were conducted in 13 of the 19 participating countries between April 2009 and February 2010 namely Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.