Science and technology policy

Workshop on Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET): Strategies for a Global Workforce

 

   
  


Lead countries: Canada and Austria


28-29 September 2006
Victoria Ballroom, Marriott Hotel,
100 Kent Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Background - Objectives - Agenda and presentations
Workshop summary report

Addressing barriers to the education, recruitment, progression and retention of women in science, engineering and technology (SET), from school age-level, to university studies, to late career, is key for meeting the increasing demand for a skilled workforce. The OECD, together with the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, held a 2nd workshop on "Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET): Strategies for a Global Workforce”. 

This international workshop brought together stakeholders from government, education and research institutions and the business community, and provided the latest insight on:

  • Women in the general workforce and in SET
  • Gender issues in the sciences:
    • Excellence, science cultures and gender
    • Programmes and initiatives focusing on changes in the scientific system
    • Programmes and initiatives focusing on the advancement of women 

 

Background

Against a background of increasing demand for a skilled workforce in science, engineering and technology (SET), recent OECD–SFRI workshops have focused on training, recruitment and retention issues of skilled graduates in these areas.

The background paper of the November 2005 OECD–SFRI workshop on Women in Scientific Careers concluded that:

…women obtain more than half of all university degrees in many countries but only around 30% of university degrees awarded in science and technology, OECD countries face a paradoxical situation: a feminisation of the workforce in general and of university-trained graduates in particular, but continued under-representation of women in the research workforce. …the available data tend to reinforce results from the academic literature that show women remain unevenly distributed in research occupations and under-represented in senior positions.

Addressing barriers to the education, recruitment, progression and retention of women in SET, from school age-level, to university studies, to late career, is a key strategy for meeting the increasing demand for a skilled workforce and for achieving gender equality in all fields of SET.

Objectives

Starting with an overview of the status of women in SET, this workshop provided general reflections on gender and science and an opportunity to share and learn from successful strategies/programs implemented by countries, as well as from unsuccessful attempts, that address barriers to women in SET.

The under-representation of women in SET has been well documented and the underlying causes of this problem well studied. In an effort to address these barriers and issues, many OECD countries have developed and implemented programs, structures and policies on gender mainstreaming/gender equity. The workshop explored the outcomes of various solutions which have been put in place in OECD countries. Small group sessions facilitated discussion. Members were asked to come prepared with examples from their own country.
A “poster” area with panels and tables was available to provide and discuss information about results of relevant research on the issue of women in SET or on programs implemented by institutions, granting agencies, etc.

Agenda and presentations

 

Thursday, 28 September

Welcome

  • Ms. Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Dr. Renate Fischer, Directorate for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

Opening remarks

  • Host country (Canada): Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Host country (Austria): Dr. Ilse König, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
  • OECD: Mr. John Dryden, Deputy Director, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Session 1: Introduction/plenary session

Co-Chairs:

  • Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Renate Fischer, Directorate for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture


1A. Women in the General Workforce and in SET (15 min)

What are the broader contexts encompassing women in the general workforce? What is the current ‘state of affairs’ for women in SET? What are the underlying reasons why women are under-represented in the SET?

  • Mr. Dirk Pilat, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

1.B. Gender issues in the sciences: How do the sciences benefit?

What is the potential impact on the content and conceptual framework of SET that a strong presence of women, around the world, can help to make?

1.C. Excellence, Science Cultures and Gender

What are the specific trends, issues, and ‘cultural dynamics’ within specific disciplines that facilitate or inhibit the participation of women? Does the definition and assessment of excellence play a decisive role in this respect?

  • Dr. Susanne Baer, Vice-President Academic and International Affairs, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

Questions and Discussion (15 min)

Session 2: Programmes and initiatives focusing on changes in the scientific system

A substantial change in the position of women in SET and research will not be possible without changes to the scientific system itself. What initiatives have already been put in place to address fundamental change within the scientific system (universities, research institutes, funding agencies, industry) and what have we learned from both successful and unsuccessful initiatives, programs, policies or mechanisms? What possible solutions should be explored for the future? Examples range from implementing gender-responsive budgets by governments, gender-balancing compositions of decision bodies, integrating gender in research agendas and programs, implementing diversity management in industry, to reflecting critically the definition and assessment of excellence with respect to funding and recruiting policies and practice.

Session Chair: Renate Fisher, Directorate for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

2.A. Institutions, decision bodies, policies

Chair: Dr. Sveva Avveduto, Chair OECD-SFRI, and Section Head, National Research Council Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies, Italy

Rapporteur: Ms. Karen Lloyd, Director General, Environmental Assessment Division, Health Canada and Federal Champion for Women in Science and Technology

2.B. Research agenda and programmes

Chair: Ms. Michéle Baron, Ministère de la Recherche, France

Rapporteur: Dr. Mario Lamarca, Director, RGS-Life Sciences and Special Research Opportunities, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada

2.C. Measuring and assessing scientific excellence

Chair: Céline Bérubé, Team Leader, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada

Rapporteur: Dr. Anne Alper, Research Partnerships Programs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada

Session 3: Programmes and initiatives focusing on the advancement of women

The barriers and challenges which exist for women in SET and research vary throughout the different stages of education and career. What initiatives have already been put in place to improve education, recruitment, retention and progression for young girls and women in SET? What have we learned from both successful and unsuccessful initiatives, programs, policies or mechanisms? What possible solutions should be explored for the future?

Session Chair: Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, NSERC, Canada

3.A. Primary and secondary school age-level

Chair: Ms. Norma Jarboe, Director, Opportunity Now, UK

Rapporteur: Dr. William Coderre, Director of Corporate Development, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada

3.B. College and university students

Chair: Ms. Karen Lloyd, Director General, Environmental Assessment Division, Health Canada and Federal Champion for Women in Science and Technology

Rapporteur: Elizabeth Gibson Executive Director, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Australia

3.C. Scientific career (early, mid, late career)

Chair: Dr. Wanda Ward, Deputy Assistant Director, National Science Foundation, United States of America

Rapporteur: Ms. Barbara Conway, Secretary to Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada

 

Friday, 29 September

Session 4: Plenary and Closing

Session Co-Chairs: Ms. Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; Dr. Renate Fischer, Directorate for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

Report of Session 2 (Plenary)

Chair: Dr. Renate Fischer, Directorate for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

Reports of the 3 rapporteurs of session 2 (10 min each):

  • Session 2A: Ms. Karen Lloyd, Director General, Environmental Assessment Division, Health Canada and Federal Champion for Women in Science and Technology
  • Session 2B: Dr. Mario Lamarca, Director, RGS-Life Sciences and Special Research Opportunities, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada
  • Session 2C: Dr. Anne Alper, Research Partnerships Programs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada
  • Plenary discussion (40 min)

Report of Session 3 (Plenary)

Chair: Ms. Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Report of the 3 rapporteurs of session 3 (10 min each):

Closing panel and discussion

  • Panelist 1: Dr. Kelly Lyons, Head, Toronto Lab Centre for Advanced Studies, International Business Machines Corporation
  • Panelist 2: Mr. Dirk Pilat, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Panelist 3: Dr. Johannes Klumpers, Head of Unit C4 Women and Science, Directorate – General Research, European Commission
  • Panelist 4: Dr. Monique Frize, Professor, Carleton University, Canada

Closing remarks

  • Ms. Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Page updated: 21 June 2007

 

Related Documents

 

Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET): Strategies for a Global Workforce: Workshop Summary

International Workshop on Women in Scientific Careers, Paris (France)

 

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