Gender-Based Assessments of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ecosystem in Ethiopia

Science, technology and innovations (STI) are important contributors to sustainable development. STI has been proved to be an important prerequisite for the social and economic transformations that enable sustainable economic growth, human development and poverty eradication (UN Secretary Report, 2013). The successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) will also be realized with the support of STI. Studies witness the contribution of STI-based strategies to economic and social development (Giovannini et al, 2015; UN, 2019), and countries that employed and promoted STI have exhibited more economic growth and industrial dynamism (Bokova, 2012; Ihueze et al, 2015). Moreover, because of the crucial role of STI, the African Union has taken it as part of its development strategy Agenda 2063 (Bobadoye, 2015). In sub-Saharan African countries like Ethiopia, technology and innovation has played a significant role in improving the livelihood of their citizens. Science, technology and innovation has improved the health, working and living condition of people, and it also contributes to increase their income and amount of leisure time (Amha and Mekuriaw, 2008). Above all, in a country where food insecurity prevails and impacted by climate change, the need for science, technology and innovation is enormous. The first half of the 20th century is considered as the beginning of application of modern science and technology in Ethiopia, along with the establishment of higher education institutions (Amha and Mekuriaw, 2008). Ethiopia established Ministry of Science and Technology for the first time in 1975 as a commission and currently it is renamed as Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT). The Ministry was established with the aim of providing study-based recommendations to the government of Ethiopia for adopting and revising polices, strategies, laws and directives for the development of STI that support the realization of the country’s development objectives (Tesfa, 2015). Ethiopia applies STI as an instrument to achieve the long-term vision to be among the middle-income countries (MoE, 2015). One of the cross cutting issues in STI ecosystem is gender. In a country where gender inequality prevails, ensuring gender equality in all spheres of life is the corner stone for sustainable development. More importantly, ensuring gender equality in STI plays a crucial role in meeting the needs of the country through the contribution made by women. Despite this fact, gender imbalance exists in such fields particularly in higher education institutions in Ethiopia. Though various measures have been taken to redress the gender inequality by enhancing the participation of female students and instructors in higher education institutions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the result obtained has not been satisfactory as only few women are shown up in such fields of study.
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East Africa
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