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Gender Equality in STEM: A prerequisite for inclusive sustainable development

Advancing gender equality in science is fundamental to building a sustainable and just future where women and girls are no longer sidelined in scientific and technological fields.

This year, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS) is highlighting the role that gender equality in science plays in driving sustainable and equitable development. By unleashing women and girls’ talent, the world can benefit from their contribution to scientific progress, ensure diversity in research, and achieve its ambitions for sustainable development.

However, despite recent progress, women represent a minority in the STEM workforce. Recent research showed that women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics. In sub-Saharan Africa, between 18 to 31% of science researchers are women, compared to 49% in Southeast Europe and in the Caribbean.

Integrating more African women and girls in STEM will not only increase the likelihood of innovations and technological breakthroughs, but will also help the continent achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

STEM women leaders are an inspiration to aspiring African women and girl scientists and gamechangers in their own right. Our cohorts of Amujae Leaders include women who have made their mark in STEM fields across the continent.

Amujae Leader Farida Bedwei is making waves in the tech industry. Following a string of achievements, including co-founding and leading a software company that develops banking systems for the microfinance industry, she now holds a high-level engineering position at Microsoft.

A seasoned engineer and project manager, Amujae Leader Ghada Labib is Egypt’s Deputy Minister for Institutional Development at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. She

has wide-ranging experience managing high-profile software development projects and advising her country’s prime minister on ICT policies.

As innovators, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, Amujae Leaders Dr. Adaeze Oreh and Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings have pioneered new approaches to healthcare, environmental management, and development. Dr. Oreh’s research and policy work is helping to improve the delivery of safe blood transfusions, resulting in reduced maternal and child mortality rates. Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings was instrumental in the co-development of a disaster and early-warning mobile application, and the research into carbon reduction techniques.

Fellow Amjuae Leader  Bogolo Kenewendo, has also advocated for women’s and girls’ increased access to STEM-related employment and education opportunities. Both in her role as Botswana’s former Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, and as a G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council member, she consistently called for involving women in research, innovation, and the development of tech industries, and for making STEM education accessible to the widest proportion of African girls.

Learn more about the Amujae Initiative and the work our current cohorts are doing across STEM and other fields to drive public leadership here, and keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of our third cohort later this year.

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