Gender equity was a key topic of discussion during the research equity dialogue events in Uganda and Ethiopia last year. Reflecting on the issues and arguments raised at these events, Dr Femi Nzegwu, Director of the SERKS programme, considers gender inequity in research and higher education from a historical, contemporary and future-focused perspective.
The lack of representation of women in national research systems is well recognized and cited, but is not so often looked at in the context of a rich history of gender complementarity in Africa.
Women make up approximately 32% of researchers worldwide but there are regional variations. For example, overall in South and East Asia just 19% of researchers are women but in Sri Lanka the percentage is 46% while in Bangladesh it is just 14% (UNESCO 2018).
In Africa, where the overall percentage of 31% is very similar to Europe and North America, there are also regional variations, with the highest percentage of female researchers being 45% in Central Africa Republic. In Uganda and Ethiopia, where we held dialogue events on equity last year, women make up 29% and 13% respectively of the researchers. Read more