Thailand to pilot UNESCO project targeting gender imbalances in STEM

Thailand to pilot UNESCO project targeting gender imbalances in STEM

Thailand will be the first country in Asia-Pacific to assess and address gender imbalances in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields using a policy toolkit developed as part of a global UNESCO project.

SAGA (STEM and Gender Advancement) is a global UNESCO project that aims to address the glaring gender disparities in STEM fields in all countries at all levels of education and research. Among the project’s aims are to analyze the impact of policies on gender disparities in STEM, develop better indicators for evidence-based policy-making and to build Member States' capacity to collect data on gender in STEM.

The project comes in response to the wide recognition of the impact of long-term policies and policy instruments, both inside and outside of the technology system (government funding agencies, higher education institutions, research centres, etc) that have often neglected the gender dimension.

Thailand is one of a selected number of countries from different regions that has committed to participating in a national level study using the SAGA tool to map policy gaps in gender equality.

A SAGA training workshop for Thailand, during which the project’s innovative methodology and tools were explained, was organized by UNESCO and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) Thailand, from 23-24 May at the UNESCO Bangkok office.

A total of 25 representatives from government agencies, including IPST, the National Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Office, and the National Statistical Office (NSO) joined UNESCO’s SAGA team and science experts for the workshop.

SAGA STI GOL (gender objective lists) and the SAGA Toolkit were presented. These are innovative and practical tools that policy-makers can use to integrate the gender dimension into STI policies and identify the drivers and barriers faced by different genders in STEM and the wider science and engineering workforce. Workshop participants and the SAGA team discussed strategies to improve and apply the toolkits to the Thai context.

The workshop sparked a discussion on the importance of gender equality in STEM and led to the creation of an inter-institutional committee to coordinate the implementation of the SAGA tools nationwide.

The workshop is only the first step towards the implementation of SAGA in Thailand.

The inter-institutional committee will supervise the dissemination of surveys as well as the revision of data from diverse sources to produce indicators that can inform gender related policies in STI. The current SAGA exercise will help Thailand identify gaps in gender-related STI policies through a mapping exercise. As a final step, a country report will be produced to highlight the challenges encountered, the strategies adopted to improve STI policies, and the outcomes of implementing the SAGA instruments.

 

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Bangkok will host the UNESCO International Symposium and Policy Forum, "Cracking the Code- Girls Education in STEM" from 28-30 August 2017. Proposals are now being accepted for presenations, workshops, and exhibition booths.

For more, visit: http://en.unesco.org/unesco-international-symposium-and-policy-forum-cracking-code-girls-education-stem

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