[EDEQUITY Science Dialogue] Experts World Conference on Science

From: Christine.Min.Wotipka
Date: Fri Nov 17 2000 - 16:35:27 EST

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Our discussion's moderator suggested that I post additional information
about the Declaration and Framework for Action resulting from last
year's World Conference on Science (WCS). At the bottom of this
message, I have included sections of those documents that deal with
women or gender. (Those of you who followed the discussion last year
may recall that some of these sections were included in postings by
Sophia Huyer.)

[Excerpts from the]
Text adopted by the World Conference on Science
1 July 1999. Definitive version


10.that access to scientific knowledge for peaceful purposes from a very
early age is part of the right to education belonging to all men and
women, and that science education is essential for human development,
for creating endogenous scientific capacity and for having active and
informed citizens,

24.that there is a historical imbalance in the participation of men and
women in all science-related activities,

34.Science education, in the broad sense, without discrimination and
encompassing all levels and modalities, is a fundamental prerequisite for
democracy and for ensuring sustainable development. In recent years,
worldwide measures have been undertaken to promote basic education
for all. It is essential that the fundamental role played by women in the
application of scientific development to food production and health care
be fully recognized, and efforts made to strengthen their understanding of
scientific advances in these areas. It is on this platform that science
education, communication and popularization need to be built. Special
attention still needs to be given to marginalized groups. It is more than
ever necessary to develop and expand science literacy in all cultures and
all sectors of society as well as reasoning ability and skills and an
appreciation of ethical values, so as to improve public participation in
decision-making related to the application of new knowledge. Progress in
science makes the role of universities particularly important in the
promotion and modernization of science teaching and its coordination at
all levels of education. In all countries, and in particular the
developing countries, there is a need to strengthen scientific
research in higher education, including postgraduate programs, taking
into account national priorities.

42.Equal access to science is not only a social and ethical requirement
for human development, but also essential for realizing the full potential
of scientific communities worldwide and for orienting scientific progress
towards meeting the needs of humankind. The difficulties encountered by
women, constituting over half of the world's population, in entering,
pursuing and advancing in a career in the sciences and in participating in

decision-making in science and technology should be addressed urgently.
There is an equally urgent need to address the difficulties faced by
disadvantaged groups which preclude their full and effective

[Excerpts from the]
Text adopted by the World Conference on Science
1 July 1999. Definitive version

1.3 Sharing scientific information and knowledge

17.Scientists, research institutions and learned scientific societies and
other relevant non-governmental organizations should commit themselves
to increased international collaboration, including the exchange of
knowledge and expertise. Initiatives to facilitate access to scientific
information sources by scientists and institutions in the developing
countries should be especially encouraged and supported. Initiatives to
fully incorporate women scientists and other disadvantaged groups from
the South and North into scientific networks should be implemented. In
this context efforts should be made to ensure that results of
publicly-funded research will be made accessible.

2. Science for peace and development
2.6 science and policy

56.S&T policies should be implemented that explicitly consider social
relevance, peace, cultural diversity and gender differences. Adequate
participatory mechanisms should be instituted to facilitate democratic
debate on science policy choices. Women should actively participate in
the design of these policies.

3.3 Widening participation in science

  78.Government agencies, international organizations and universities
and research institutions should ensure the full participation of women in
the planning, orientation, conduct and assessment of research
activities. It is necessary that women participate actively in shaping the
agenda for the future direction of scientific research.

79.The full participation of disadvantaged groups in all aspects of
research activities, including the development of policy, also needs to be

  80.All countries should contribute to the collection of reliable data,
in an internationally standardized manner, for the generation of
gender-disaggregated statistics on S&T, in cooperation with UNESCO
and other relevant international organizations.

  81.Governments and educational institutions should identify and
eliminate, from the early learning stages on, educational practices that
have a discriminatory effect, so as to increase the successful
participation in science of individuals from all sectors of society,
including disadvantaged groups.

  82.Every effort should be made to eliminate open or covert
discriminatory practices in research activities. More flexible and
permeable structures should be set up to facilitate the access of young
scientists to careers in science. Measures aimed at attaining social
equity in all scientific and technological activities, including working
conditions, should be designed, implemented and monitored.

3.4 Modern science and other systems of knowledge

  83.Governments are called upon to formulate national policies that
allow a wider use of the applications of traditional forms of learning and
knowledge, while at the same time ensuring that its commercialization is
properly rewarded.

  84.Enhanced support for activities at the national and international
levels on traditional and local knowledge systems should be considered.

  85.Countries should promote better understanding and use of traditional
knowledge systems, instead of focusing only on extracting elements for
their perceived utility to the S&T system. Knowledge should flow
simultaneously to and from rural communities.

  86.Governmental and non-governmental organizations should sustain
traditional knowledge systems through active support to the societies that
are keepers and developers of this knowledge, their ways of life, their
languages, their social organization and the environments in which they
live, and fully recognize the contribution of women as repositories of a
large part of traditional knowledge.

  87.Governments should support cooperation between holders of
traditional knowledge and scientists to explore the relationships between
different knowledge systems and to foster interlinkages of mutual benefit.

90.Taking into account the outcome of the six regional forums on women
and science sponsored by UNESCO, the Conference stresses that special
efforts should be made by governments, educational institutions,
scientific communities, non-governmental organizations and civil society,
with support from bilateral and international agencies, to ensure the full
participation of women and girls in all aspects of science and technology,
and to this effect to:
           promote within the education system the access of girls and
women to scientific education at all levels;

           improve conditions for recruitment, retention and advancement in
all fields of research;

           launch, in collaboration with UNESCO and the United Nations
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), national, regional and global
campaigns to raise awareness of the contribution of women to science
and technology, in order to overcome existing gender stereotypes among
scientists, policy-makers and the community at large;

           undertake research, supported by the collection and analysis of

gender-disaggregated data, documenting constraints and progress in
expanding the role of women in science and technology;

           monitor the implementation of and document best practices and
lessons learned through impact assessment and evaluations;

           ensure an appropriate representation of women in national,
regional and international policy- and decision-making bodies and forums;

           establish an international network of women scientists;

           continue to document the contributions of women in science and

           To sustain these initiatives governments should create
mechanisms, where these do not yet exist, to propose and monitor
introduction of the necessary policy changes in support of the attainment
of these goals.

Christine Min Wotipka
Stanford University School of Education

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