Despite growing participation of women and people with diverse gender identities in the Americas, gender gaps and disparities are persistent in science and decision-making spheres. While the number of women academics has increased, and their productivity and impact maybe comparable to those of men, differences in dropout rates impact women’s career advancement. Furthermore, women in some countries occupy only 15% or less of the lowerhouse seats and 13% or less of ministerial positions.
The IAI’s new Gender Policy on IAI Projects and Activities identifies specific actions to increase equitable gender participation in scientific research, capacity building, research design and development, and science-policy activities. It aims to support the inclusion and evaluation of gender dimensions in global environmental change (GEC) research, promoting the mainstreaming of gender considerations in GEC adaptation and mitigation actions. The Gender policy is a Party driven process and results from the Decision XXVIII/6.
The need to include the gender dimension
GEC unevenly affects society transforming lives and livelihoods. Women, individuals with diverse gender identities, and people from other underrepresented groups often face stigma and discrimination, resulting in underrepresentation in the sciences. Gender neutral solutions and policies are not enough to develop long term solutions and increase our abilities to respond to GEC. Including overrepresented voices and gender-sensitive frameworks in science production and evidence-based policy making is essential to better understand the interactions, risks and opportunities of climate change and biodiversity conservation –as well as to achieve global efforts and national policy objectives towards a transformative change.
The IAI is committed to research that enhances social-environmental justice, gender equality, and engagement of underrepresented groups. Its new Gender Policy recognizes that gender approaches should be an integral dimension of GEC policies and actions, and will provide guidance for the deployment and development of integrated solutions to address the multiple and intertwined drivers of climate-biodiversity-society nexus.
Promoting Gender Equality and Leadership in Science-Policy: 4 main goals
The Gender policy aims to ensure gender equality in IAI science projects and capacity building activities in support of regional efforts to promote equity and inclusive participation in science. The main goals are:
1. Enhancing the IAI’s regional leadership in the promotion of gender equality in science
The IAI will partner with relevant international governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and research institutions, among others, to promote public funded science research, gender balance and mainstreaming in science education.
2. Integrating the gender dimension in IAI supported science and capacity building activities
Implementation of the policy is focused on both, achieving gender balance in training, projects participants, as well as the inclusion of gender analysis and dimensions in project proposals and in annual and final reports, as appropriate. These actions will increase visibility and recognition of diverse gender voices in science at different stages of their career.
3. Eliminating biases in project selection and in development of its science and capacity building programs
In addition to ensure consistency, transparency, and clarity of criteria in the selection of projects and activities, the IAI Directorate will establish gender balance throughout the peer review process and selection. It will also design calls for proposals to appeal to all applicants regardless of gender and career level and use gender neutral language and tone.
4. Establishing a gender-inclusive environment in scientific research. The IAI Directorate will, subject to the availability of external financial resources, develop education and training materials, including online materials, with gender diverse voices and perspectives to introduce the challenges and best practices of gender equality and mainstreaming in science.
“Success is the sum of small efforts”. To achieve greater participation and leadership of women and minoritized groups in climate and biodiversity related research –and decision and policy making– we must coordinate efforts across scales and sectors. The IAI invites their parties and scientific community to contribute to successfully implement and foster the Gender Policy.