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Putting gender at the head and heart of STEM research

March 22, 2021
As a result of COVID-19, closing gender gaps in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a bigger challenge than ever before. The Gender in STEM Research Initiative aims to champion women’s contributions to science, and to society at large. 
Only two women are among the students at this fluid mechanics class in Chad.
Frederic Noy/Panos Pictures
Only two women are among the students at this fluid mechanics class in Chad.

As in many sectors, STEM fields have seen greater gender inequalities as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic has caused disruptions in research and publication for women as they take on more care work than their male counterparts. The latest UNESCO data also says universities in many countries are continuing to produce fewer women researchers in natural sciences compared to arts and humanities. This includes lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where IDRC works. 

In the spirit of the principles of equality and inclusion embedded in IDRC’s newly launched Strategy 2030, the Centre is pleased to launch the Gender in STEM Research Initiative and the associated call for expressions of interest at this crucial time. The initiative builds on our body of work to strengthen individual women’s capacity in science fields in LMICs. It also aims to address the unequal participation of women scientists in STEM and limited gender-based analysis in STEM research.   

This initiative will fund university-led research consortia in LMICs to do research that leads to tangible solutions. It aims to transform institutions and systems so they advance women in science, and propel high-quality STEM teaching and research that integrates gender analysis.  

The initiative invites consortia to propose research in one or more of the following four themes:  

  1. Integration of gender analysis: Research existing gaps in gender-based analysis in specific STEM disciplinary fields (e.g., technology, engineering, and artificial intelligence) as well as integration of gender analysis in STEM.   
  2. Exploring STEA+M: Address research gaps in LMICs on how the integration of the arts, design, humanities, and social sciences (or A+) into STEM may transform STEM teaching as well as research.  
  3. Advancing institutional policies: Research to identify what impact the transformation of science institutions in LMICs has on the achievement of gender equality in STEM.   
  4. Safeguarding women scientists: Research on gender-based harassment and sexual violence in STEM, which remain under-reported in many countries including LMICs.   

Complete information on this call can be found here

Applications can be made here

The deadline is April 22, 2021.