STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA)
The project is implemented by the UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector in Paris, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in Montreal, Canada, and UNESCO Montevideo in Uruguay in cooperation with several other UNESCO field offices. The SAGA methodology has been implemented in several countries around the world with different income levels or development status, such as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC). This shows the project’s ability to ensure the flexibility of its methodology in various contexts.
The methodology and tools were piloted in countries around the world, based on different criteria and in order to have geographical balance. National training workshops were held in Argentina, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Lebanon, Sudan, Thailand and Uruguay, as well as in the province of Quebec in Canada. Furthermore, two sub-regional workshops were organized, one in West Africa in which 8 countries participated (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo), and another for the Arab States, in which 11 countries participated (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia).
Following a SAGA workshop held in 2016 in Buenos Aires, an inter-institutional advisory committee, led by the Department of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (Secretaria de Gobierno de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion Productiva) of the Argentine Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura, Ciencia y Tecnología [MECCyT]), composed of 29 experts in the fields of STI, gender equality and statistics from approximately 20 institutions was created by ministerial decree in 2016.
The implementation of the project contributed to the inclusion of gender equality in the Third Open Government National Plan (2017-2019) (Tercer Plan de Acción Nacional de Gobierno Abierto [2017-2019]) and for the access to information on gender equality in S&T for public policy advocacy, as well as in the Argentina 2018 Report on the SDGs (Objetivos De Desarrollo Sostenible- Informe País Argentina 2018).
Other effects of the project in Argentina include the following ongoing actions and programmes:
- Participation in the National Plan for Equal Opportunities and Rights (Plan Nacional de Igualdad de Oportunidades y Derechos) where MINCyT is contributing to the development of commitments to be included in the plan. The action is led by the National Institute for Women (Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres), the government institution responsible for the promotion of gender equality in Argentina.
- A focused programme on gender equality in STI is under development at the Argentine Department of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation. The programme aims at planning short-term and medium-term actions to improve the situation of women in STI and includes the monitoring and evaluation of strategies.
- A special thematic section on gender equality on the S&T Information Portal for Argentina (Portal de Información de Ciencia y Tecnología Argentino) is under development. The information gathered and analysed, and the outcomes of the implementation of the SAGA project in Argentina, will be available on the site.
To raise awareness and promote gender equality in STI and engage more girls and young women in STEM, MINCyT also organized several public events such as:
- Round tables, including How to be a woman scientist and not die trying: stories from private and professional life (Ser científica y no morir en el intento. Historias de vida y experiencias profesionales), and the workshop Towards promotion of women’s participation in research in Latin America (Hacia el fomento de la participación de la mujer en la investigación en América Latina);
- workshops to discuss STI indicators focused on gender equality;
- the launch of two Argentine S&T Editathons (Editatones de Científicas y Tecnólogas argentinas), in collaboration with Wikimedia Argentina and the Argentine Network on Gender, Science and Technology (Red Argentina de Género, Ciencia y Tecnología);
- dissemination of the main outcomes of the project at several gender-related events, such as Gender Summit 12 and the tenth Ibero- American Congress on S&T Indicators (X Congreso Iberoamericano de Indicadores de Ciencia y Tecnología).
Argentina’s country report was published by the Argentinian Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology and is available at https://www.argentina.gob.ar/ciencia.
At the request of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), made during the 39th UNESCO General Conference, the Gambia became the first SAGA pilot country in Africa. A national inter-institutional committee was set up in 2017 in preparation of the implementation of the SAGA project in the Gambia.
The implementation of the SAGA project in the country had an impact in better mainstreaming gender equality in the country’s STI policies and programmes. Indeed the national committee has supported the:
- Creation of a gender unit within MoHERST with a budgetary vote to support continuous monitoring and advice on STEM and gender advancement issues in Gambia;
- Strengthening of existing units in education institutions;
- Review of existing national STI considering the recommendations of the SAGA implementation (this has been completed);
- Inclusion of a gender component of STI in the new national STI law (in planning stage);
A country report (Gambia SAGA Report, 2018) containing a map of STI policies and instruments focused on gender equality and an updated overview of the situation of women in STI in the country was elaborated by the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation of MoHERST and it is available at http://www.moherst.gov.gm/content/stem-gender-advancement-saga- programme.
Haiti joined the SAGA project in November 2017 to contribute to the advancement and promotion of women in science, especially in STEM fields. In this mandate, the Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti (Institut des Sciences, des Technologies et des Études Avancées d’Haïti [ISTEAH]) has taken a leading role in the activities to assess the current situation of women in Science in the country. Accordingly, a national team was established, consisting of affiliated members at ISTEAH to conduct activities.
The implementation of the SAGA project has led:
- To the production of a special edition of the journal Haïti Perspective, which will have a major impact on the diffusion of the current situation, thereby informing a large audience. Haiti’s report was by the national team and includes a special edition of the journal Haïti Perspective, Femmes et sciences, a qualitative review of the drivers and barriers faced by women in Haiti.
- The activities and initial outcomes of the project were also presented at various public events, including the week on Science and Knowledge for a New Haiti organised by the Reflexion and Action Group for a New Haiti (Groupe de réflexion et d’action pour une Haïti nouvelle [GRAHN-Monde]). This event attracted a large audience and was a good platform for the exchange of information, promotion of knowledge and key initiatives but also helped create new networks to continue work on the promotion of women in science in Haiti.
UNESCO Khartoum Office, in collaboration with the Sudanese UNESCO Chair for Women in Science and Technology and the National commission to UNESCO, requested to implement the SAGA project in the country in December 2017.
A committee of 17 experts was set up as a result of a training workshop held in May 2018 and co-organized by UNESCO Khartoum Office and the Sudanese National commission to UNESCO
The implementation of the SAGA project led to a very positive impact among Sudanese ministries, universities and research institutions. It was the first time such an analysis had been undertaken in Sudan. In terms of sub-national impact, the project has achieved wide interest among female scientists in STEM and innovation. With the gender gap that was highlighted by the project, it will now be possible to encourage national institutions concerned with STEM development to create and strengthen efforts to encourage girls and women to engage in S&E careers. Through the UNESCO Chair for Women in Science and Technology, it is planned to establish a database that would break out information on gender inequality by sub-fields in STEM. The national team will work to encourage policy-makers to incorporate the gender dimension into STI policies.
A report containing the results of the implementation of the SAGA tools, sex-disaggregated indicators, as well as more information on the status of women in STI in Sudan was developed by the Sudanese National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair for Women in Science and Technology Sudan University of Science and Technology. The report is available at http://www.sustech.edu/unesco/news-content.php?news_no=5744&chk=e1f9f280a8e4b0a678a1eaf41b6acfc6.
In 2016, The Thai National Commission for UNESCO (Thai Natcom) requested to participate in SAGA as the first pilot country in the Asia and the Pacific region. The Thai Natcom nominated the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology of Thailand (IPST) as the main agency responsible for the implementation of the project and collaborating with UNESCO SAGA team. IPST set up an inter-institutional committee consisting of 15 experts in the fields of STI, gender equality and statistics from IPST, the national Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STIPO), the National Statistical Office (NSO), and the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC)
The implementation SAGA project aimed to survey the current situation of gender equality in STEM in Thailand so as to eventually be in a position to make recommendations for future studies. The Thai team expects the findings from the implementation of the project will be informative of the gender equality status in STEM in Thailand, for policy makers, organizations involved in developing the STEM workforce, as well as the general public.
Thailand’s country report was prepared by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST).
In 2016 the government of Uruguay decided to join the SAGA project, thereby becoming the first pilot country of the initiative.
A national inter-institutional committee (Mesa interinstitucional de Mujeres en STEM e innovación) was established as an outcome of the SAGA training workshop held on 1st and 2nd of September in Montevideo to coordinate the strategies to apply and the improve tools developed by SAGA in the Uruguayan context.
The implementation of the SAGA project led a country report titled Women in science, technology and innovation, a problem of justice (Mujeres en ciencia, tecnología e innovación, un problema de justicia) was published. The report is organized around the gender objectives of the SAGA STI GOL and includes:
- a national inventory of policies and instruments focused on gender equality in STI;
- a perception survey of gender gaps in STEM areas for policy and technical decision-makers;
- recommendations on how to improve gender-related STI policies.
Another report was published in March 2018 with the title “Keys to Development: more Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- STEM", which includes more graphic analyses.
The implementation of the project contributed to the inclusion of gender equality in STI in the Estrategia Nacional para la Igualdad de Género 2030 (National Strategy for Gender Equality 2030) as well as to the official creation of an Inter-Institutional committee.
In addition to the two reports, the committee also published two prospective studies on gender, which contribute to the National Development Strategy of Uruguay 2050:
- Towards a National Development Strategy, Uruguay 2050, Gender systems, equality and their impact on the development of Uruguay to 2050, Vol I, Synthesis of a prospective diagnosis;
- Towards a National Development Strategy, Uruguay 2050, Gender systems, equality and their impact on the development of Uruguay, Vol VI, Prospective scenarios.
Uruguay’s country report Mujeres en ciencia, tecnología, e innovación, un problema de justicia (Women in STI, an issue of justice) was published by the OPP. The report is available at http://184.108.40.206/images/genero/mujerescienciaytecnologia.pdf.
Canada (Province of Quebec)
In February 2017, a SAGA training workshop was organized in partnership with FRQ and MESI. The event was attended by 28 participants from nearly 15 organisations such as Quebec Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’électrification des transport, L’Oréal Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), professional associations, representatives of the academic community. As an outcome of the workshop, a national inter-institutional committee, led by FRQ and MESI, was established for the implementation of the project in Quebec. The committee has two leading coordinators (one from FRQ and another one from MESI) and five other experts who are responsible for a specific objective of the seven gender objective of the STI GOL.
The SAGA project has been integrated in the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation 2017-2022 (Quebec’s research and innovation strategy for 2017-2022) and in the Stratégie gouvernementale pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes vers 2021 (Quebec’s government strategy for gender equality).
It is also aligned with four studies conducted by the MEI on women’s progress in S&T in Quebec, including the recent Bilan de la progression des Québécoises en sciences et en technologies de 2003-2013, an assessment on women’s progress in science and technology between 2003 and 2013 in Quebec.
A report containing a map of STI policies and instruments focused on gender equality in Quebec was developed by the committee: Projet SAGA-UNESCO au Québec “Rapport sur les mesures de soutien à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes en sciences, technologies, ingénierie et mathématique au Québec".
- About SAGA (pdf)
- Become a SAGA Pilot Country (pdf)
- Becoming a SAGA Pilot country- Your role and contributions (pdf)
- SAGA Newsletter 1 (pdf)
- SAGA Postcard (pdf)
- SAGA Roll-up (pdf)