USAID Asia, through the #IGNITE project, facilitated an intensive gender mainstreaming workshop for members of the #ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) on March 14 to address persistent gender gaps in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across the region. Promoting greater women’s participation in STEM fields is mandated by ASEAN through its recently endorsed Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Framework, which is a whole-of-ASEAN policy approach, developed with support from USAID, to serve as a roadmap that advances gender and inclusion as core considerations in all ASEAN-led activities.
During the workshop, the ASEAN-USAID IGNITE Project shared a recently completed Policy Brief that assessed the status of women in STEM across individual ASEAN countries highlighting significant gender gaps across the region. For example, girls in 5 out of 6 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand) with available data outperform boys in mathematics and science in primary and secondary education. Yet across ASEAN countries, only 19.3% of all female graduates compared to 39.8% of all male university graduates obtain STEM-related degrees. This trend continues into leadership levels where most ASEAN member states’ minister -level positions for Science Technology and Innovation are men. To rectify this discordance, the Policy Brief provides recommendations for improving gender equity integration in STEM educational and career opportunities for women and girls.
Through workshop trainings such as this, USAID is supporting the U.S. government’s partnership goals with ASEAN to increase participation of women and girls in STEM fields to counter structural and systemic barriers (i.e., lack of access to technology, education services and facilities, lack of coordination among government, etc.) and strengthen inclusive development.
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