Women, Science and Technology
Women, Science and Technology
Gender parity is essential and effective in reducing levels of poverty and providing social and economic development. Women play an integral role as caretakers, active contribution to productive activities and social education in the society, which is vital for achievement of socio-economic development. Gender parity is essential for advancement of science and technology as it provides for a means of achievement of social equity, economic development and the overall achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through sustainable development.
Research indicates that women are responsible for a majority of the food production activities and subsequent processing in the developing world. In addition, this provides them with the opportunity to ensure diversity in their diets, and those of their respective families to achieve good health. For instance, 90% of the cultivation of rice in Southeast Asia is done by women and 80% of food production in sub-Saharan Africa is done by women. This is an indication that the women in the developing world play an integral role in enhancing food security for their families, communities and regions (Cater-Steel, and Cater 11).
It is important to note that the activities and contributions of women in agricultural activities are usually under reported especially in the developing regions. Women’s activities in agriculture are faced by numerous challenges such as lack of resources, lack of expertise, lack of markets and general support that would enhance the levels of contribution and subsequent recognition of their efforts in agriculture (Hall 13).
In addition, other issues include the marginalization of women in developing countries with regard to their rights to land ownership. This impedes their overall involvement in farm activities and food production. Food production in sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to grow by an estimated 20% if women are provided with equal access to land, fertilizer, seeds and funding to undertake intensive farming activities (Wyer 19).
Training and education targeted at women could provide an essential avenue to achieve socioeconomic development for women. New technologies can provide solutions to the low productivity of women and enhance their contributions to agriculture. Providing them with education and new techniques for agriculture could enhance the overall levels of productivity especially within developing countries. New technologies reduce time and energy that would otherwise be spent on labor-intensive tasks. They also provide enhanced food processing technologies that would improve incomes and consumption of energy. Such contributes to the empowerment of women and their achievement of socioeconomic development (Wyer 22).
Elimination of factors that discriminate against women around the world is essential for the eradication of poverty. The growth of industries such as biotechnology, construction, telecommunications and engineering could provide platforms that would enable women to achieve prosperity. However, such is impossible to achieve if equality between genders is not observed in terms of provision of opportunities towards education, training and employment. Given the integral role of women in management of families, when educated and empowered, they could provide platforms for reducing poverty levels by lifting their families from poverty through, economic activities and education.
The role of women is also evident in water and sanitation. Women are engaged in tedious tasks of fetching water in developing regions, which means that they spend significant time and energy in sourcing for water for domestic and agricultural use. Thus, engaging women in ideas that would enhance sustainable water use and management could enable conservation of existing water sources. Water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource given the prevalence of climate change resulting in dried-up water sources, as well as increased populations competing for meager water sources.
Policies can play a strong role in designing, developing and diffusion of technologies, which could enhance the position women in fields such as telecommunications, energy sectors and water. Promotion of gender equality in technology, science, leadership, management and engineering could enhance the position of women in society. This has a domino effect in that it results in the empowerment of families and communities as a resulted of equity achieved by women. The participation of women in science and technology can enhance the achievement of poverty eradication and overall gender equity (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 16).
Educated and empowered women could promote science and technology towards creation of a highly literate population with respect to young women and girls. Vocational and lifelong educational strategies are essential for women as well as men in need of new skills that are not within their education systems. New skills can provide people with avenues to seek new employment and engage in entrepreneurial activities that would enable them to lift their lives out of poverty. This is essential especially for people in poverty who lack appropriate skills that can enable them to be self-sufficient in stable and high skilled professions and self-employment.
Private enterprise also provides an integral platform for women especially in developing countries to enhance the involvement of women in innovation systems. In addition, the low levels of women representation in high-level businesses is associated with the weak innovation systems at national levels and the low levels of competitiveness of developed nations at the global level. Women and men in enterprise face similar obstacles such as inaccessibility of scientific and technical education, training and skills, lack of capital, ownership of copyrights for innovations, and lack of skills and knowledge on developing their enterprises.
In global economies there is need to provide support to small and medium enterprises to take risks of entry into regional and global markets with an aim of connecting with international markets. Science and technology enhances the ability of women to participate within financial markets and achieve prosperity for themselves, their families and communities. There are significant disparities in the developing world in terms of the number of women involved in active businesses largely due to common barriers such as gender inequality, lack of capital, inadequate skills and training to undertake successful entrepreneurial activities (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 19).
Modern society is largely different from traditional society in terms o gender roles assumed by both men and women-men were considered as sole breadwinners whereas the women were largely caretakers. This has changed with the empowerment of women by provision of opportunities such as education, access to funding, training and skills and employment. Women have assumed an aggressive position in society in terms of business positions in modern entities and delegation of caretaking duties to househelps, as they are deeply involved in enhancing their careers and businesses.
Women make up a significant portion of the world’s population and with adequate training and empowerment could provide a sustainable source of labor and expertise to further social and economic development. Therefore, enhancing the access to education targeted at women as well as their male counterparts could improve the possibilities of achieving high levels of development and economic growth. This amounts to the institution of policies that safeguards the presence of equal rights geared at enabling individuals to access quality education and training skills that would improve the possibilities of self-sufficiency through self-employment or formal employment. The traditional beliefs of gender inequality have marred the achievement of gender parity towards issues such as education and employment in a majority of developing countries (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 23).
The global economy is in dire need of skilled labor in important science fields such as, technology, engineering, medicine, and enterprise. These provide an essential avenue for improving economies, growing the levels of innovation and subsequent levels of human development. Gender diversity has been seen, in previous research in developed countries, to improve workplace culture. Improved attitudes, perceptions, individual output and cultural sensitivity are all attributable to enhanced levels of gender diversity. Organizations that integrate diversity into their workplace cultures are usually able to deal to problems with holistic attitudes as compared to entities that are restricted in terms of diversity and workplace culture.
Social capital in teams enhances the diversity of knowledge in organizations enhances the generation of new ideas that are vital for social economic development of an organization and for the workforce as well. Research indicates that the lack of women in workforces usually undermines the development of robust policies, decision-making and research innovation in modern entities and government institutions. Diversity and gender parity in the workplace enables the growth of leadership and management skills on an equal platform for both men and women.
Gender equality and diversity especially in teams within the workplace induces creativity and innovations that would enhance the achievement of strategic goals and objectives of the organization. This also results in the growth of business environment and marketplace as organizations are influenced and inclined to adopt diversity models as a means of achieving their goals for growth and profitability. Thus, it is evident that women provide similar inputs to modern organizations provided if they have appropriate education and skills to enable an entity achieve its goals and objectives.
Increasing the number of women in academia is documented as an important step towards providing women with a platform for empowering others. The presence of women in professorship and other important offices in education institutions provides female students with a positive attitude towards assuming similar or higher roles than those of their lecturers. In addition, this enhances the self-esteem of the female students, workers, and enhances the development of leadership capabilities and skills among the students.
On the other hand, gender diversity does not necessarily mean enhanced business activities for organizations. In the 2013 United Kingdom review on The Business Case for Equality and Diversity notes that “studies appear to have found evidence that firms have reaped business benefits from equality [and] diversity, but not all firms in all contexts at all time” (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 17). The study also found out that the management of diversity is crucial for the overall inclusion of diversity in terms of gender and culture. This is essential given that poor management of gender and cultural diversity in an organization may increase the overall costs of doing business, whereas appropriate management of diversity enhances the business position of the entity. Research also indicates that appropriate management of diversity provides significant business benefits to an organization.
Differences in access to leadership for both men and women in higher education influence the process and nature of accumulation and production of knowledge. This influences discourses and practices of students as well as their instructors in terms of the quality and impact of the skills and knowledge gained. The traditional absence of women in research resulted in their conspicuous absence as subjects, participants and beneficiaries. This is a primary reason as to why a majority of research focuses on the term ‘men’ as opposed to both men and women (Huyer, Hafkin, and Giguère 27).
Understanding gender parity provides a clear view of the role of women in enhancing the development of science and technology. It means that women are provided with similar opportunities for growing and developing science and technology. Governments have become aware of the importance of science and technology for improving the life of their citizens and elimination of life challenges such as disease and poverty. In addition, assuming a gender parity approach in science and technology is essential to achieve goals of social and economic development.
Women bear the largest burden of disease and epidemics such as cancer and HIV/AIDS by caring for the sick and providing substitute labor. Women and girls make up 50% of the global population. However, they are unable to access resources, given that the access is limited to less than half of the world’s resources such as financing, land, technology, education and training. Thus providing the remainder half of the population with access to such resources would significantly increase global wealth (Huyer, Hafkin, and Giguère 29).
Sustainable technologies, innovation and development are largely influenced by gender parity. This is because gender parity is largely associated with developed nations. Developed nations owe their success to the emphasis on gender equity as a means of developing capacities of the existing labor, irrespective of gender. Sustainable technologies, science and innovation succeed with the emphasis of gender parity. Governments should be driven to provide policies and platforms that provide for empowerment of women given that they have been traditionally undermined and underrepresented in science and technology. They would be appropriate for developing communities, the economies and providing self-sufficiency enterprise owners (Williams, and Emerson 33).
Access to information influences the levels of gender equality achieved in a given country. Enhancing the availability of information for communities, especially in developing countries provides a means of empowering both men and women. This includes enhancing the access to quality education for women, providing them with information and skills on how to maintain health in their families and enabling the achievement of gender parity. Informed individuals have the ability to transform their lives in terms of responsible behavior, enhanced skills towards management of finances, agriculture, leadership, and transformative and innovative ides in fields such as education and technology.
Differences in incomes are prevalent in both developing and developed countries. They may be attributed to issues such as gender, background, skills, training, individual conduct and level of education. This varies from one region to another depending on the criteria and ideologies of selection of employees. The use of gender parity as a basis for selection of employees provides an effective means of ensuring that income parity is achieved and that selection of employees is based entirely on individual merit rather than individual biases (Williams, and Emerson 36).
The participation of women in science and technology is dependent on and influenced by a variety of factors. Such factors may vary from developed countries to developing countries given that they have different traditions, social structures and cultures. Enhancing the participation of women in science and technology is influenced by education, skills and training, cultural beliefs and government policies instituted.
They my provide barriers or support mechanisms of enhancing the achievement of gender parity in social and organizational perspectives. Women form an effective source of labor that can be exploited positively for socioeconomic development in both developing and developed countries. They may provide effective ideas that would be able to provide to the modern society on issues such as sustainability of resources, clean energy, and diversity in modern institutions, agriculture, pollution, diseases, quality healthcare and education.
Cater-Steel, Aileen, and Emily Cater. Women in Engineering, Science and Technology: Education and Career Challenges. Hershey, PA: Engineering Science Reference, 2010. Print.
Hall, Linley E. Who’s Afraid of Marie Curie?: The Challenges Facing Women in Science and Technology. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007. Print.
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Women in Scientific Careers: Sixth Report of Session 2013-2014. London: House of Commons, 2014. Print.
Huyer, Sophia, Nancy J. Hafkin, and Pierre Giguère. Engendering the Knowledge Society: Measuring Women’s Participation. Montréal: Published by ORBICOM in association with NRC Press, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, 2007. Print.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Applying Gender Lens to Science, Technology and Innovation. New York: United Nations, 2011. Print.
Williams, F M, and Carolyn J. Emerson. Becoming Leaders: A Practical Handbook for Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2008. Print.
Wyer, Mary. Women, Science, and Technology: A Reader in Feminist Science Studies. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print.
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