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Twelve of the 15 SADC member countries will be represented at a regional workshop to determine progress in gender monitoring and evaluation in science, technology and innovation (STI). The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), in partnership with SADC Science, Technology and Innovation, SADC Gender, Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) and the Botswana Academy of Sciences (BAS), hosts a two-day workshop in Gaborone, Botswana on 5 and 6 April 2017.

Gender is defined as the roles, duties and responsibilities which are culturally or socially ascribed to women, men, girls and boys and as the relations between men and women, both perceptual and material. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially. It is a central organising principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution. Despite this definition, gender is often misunderstood as being the promotion of women only.

The combined perspectives of both men and women should be part of any planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects especially aimed at policy development.

Gender equity, unlike equality, recognises that men and women may have different experiences, needs and preferences therefore resources need to be allocated taking this into consideration. It is essential to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of both gender-focused and mainstreamed development interventions and policies so where possible, gender monitoring should also be integrated for any ongoing activities, projects and programmes.

The gender dimension of science, technology and innovation has become an increasingly important topic worldwide. For policies and programmes to be have a more meaningful effect on the lives and livelihoods of both men and women, there needs to be consideration of the gender dimensions of the data collected on STI, for further improvement where necessary, as well as for socio-economic changes.

The workshop will bring together gender and STI representatives from all but Madagascar, Angola and Seychelles SADC members to present an update on progress made in gender monitoring and evaluation for STI in their respective countries and the gender in STI activities which relate to the gender protocol and other relevant high-level documents. This will provide baseline data and analysis on the achievements made so far without avoiding the challenges and will create a platform from which to accelerate the implementation.

All gender-related activities in ASSAf are coordinated by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) South Africa National Chapter, which is hosted by ASSAf. ASSAf also hosts the focal point for GenderInSITE for the southern African region. GenderInSITE is a global initiative to raise the awareness of decision-makers on the gender and SITE dimensions of development, aimed at both men and women.

Issued by the Academy of Science of South Africa 
ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996. It was formed in response to the need for an Academy of Science consonant with the dawn of democracy in South Africa: activist in its mission of using science and scholarship for the benefit of society, with a mandate encompassing all scholarly disciplines that use an open-minded and evidence-based approach to build knowledge.ASSAf thus adopted in its name the term 'science' in the singular as reflecting a common way of enquiring rather than an aggregation of different disciplines. Its Members are elected on the basis of a combination of two principal criteria, academic excellence and significant contributions to society. The Parliament of South Africa passed the Academy of Science of South Africa Act (Act 67 of 2001), which came into force on 15 May 2002. This made ASSAf the only academy of science in South Africa officially recognised by government and representing the country in the international community of science academies and elsewhere.

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