Skip to main content

Breaking barriers: understanding obstacles facing women in STEM in the Global South

Published on
March 06, 2020
IDRC is pleased to announce the 11 research teams selected from the call for proposals "Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The teams, selected by IDRC and a team of external reviewers from more than 180 proposals, will receive a total of CA$3.3 million over the next five years to conduct research across the Global South.

Five teams from Latin America will measure gender gaps in academia, green energy, and other technology sectors. In sub-Saharan Africa, five research teams will lead a variety of projects, including a study of the factors that shape the recruitment and advancement of women scientists across the private and public sector. One international team will research the feminization of an agricultural college in India.

According to UNESCO, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. Research has already produced evidence of systemic barriers that prevent women scientists from advancing, but data and case studies are primarily drawn from high-income countries. These 11 research teams aim to increase our understanding of the unique obstacles facing women and other vulnerable groups in low and middle-income countries by generating evidence on how to improve gender equality and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

See the call for proposals "Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”

Click on the title of the project to find out more about the project and the team

109141 - Women and the Agricultural Sciences in India: Strengths, Barriers, and Opportunities

The Project

This research project investigates the strengths, barriers, and opportunities around women’s inclusion in agricultural sciences in India. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) will be studied to illuminate women’s pathways into education and their careers in agricultural sciences.

Currently, women outnumber men among students and teaching staff in TNAU. This motivates two main research questions: what the feminization of TNAU means for women’s status and gender inclusion across programs and levels within the university and more broadly within the field of agricultural sciences; and how this feminization has come about.

The study will be the first to undertake a comprehensive gender analysis of agricultural universities in India using a feminist methodological framework. This research aims to contribute to academic and public debates on the status of women in science and agricultural development in India and offer insights to attract and retain women.

This project was selected for funding as part of the call for proposals “Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Sudha Narayanan is an Associate Professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai. Sudha's current research focuses on contract farming, technology adoption in agriculture, public policies for food security and employment and agriculture-nutrition linkages. Sudha has worked with the Tata Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative of Cornell University, IFPRI, Washington D.C., the Right to Food Campaign in India, among others. Sudha obtained a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.

Sharada Srinivasan is an Associate Professor of International Development and the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development at the University of Guelph. Her research has focused specifically on gender discrimination, violence, generational dynamics, well-being, and empowerment. Prior to joining the University of Guelph in 2013, she taught at York University, Toronto, Canada. Sharada obtained her PhD in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Arjun Singh Bedi is a Professor of Development Economics and Deputy Rector for Research at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His research focuses on labor and human resource economics in developing countries. Prior to joining ISS, he held positions at the University of Bonn and Columbia University.

Swarna Rajagopalan works as a writer, political analyst and consultant in Chennai, India on issues relating to security, gender and politics, mainly in the South Asian context. She is the founder of The Prajnya Trust; a non-profit centre for policy research, advocacy and networking in the areas of peace, justice and security. She received her doctorate in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998.

Elizabeth Finnis is an associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on the politics, economics, and cultures of smaller-scale farming and local food systems. Her current research is being carried out in Parry Sound District, Ontario, Canada. Some of her other recent research includes working with small-scale farmers on issues of food sovereignty, agriculture, and social/physical environmental change in rural Paraguay.

Subramanian Jayasankar (JAY) is a professor at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. He has more than 25 years of experience in horticulture, especially fruit crop improvement in India, the U.S. and Canada. He has developed and released 14 improved varieties in India and Canada. Jay has published more than 100 research articles, co-edited 3 books, has 8 patents and 20 PBRs.

109142 - Constructing public policy for effective participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Bolivia

The Project

In Bolivia, gender stereotypes and prejudices compromise the quality of learning for female students and limit their education, employment, and career options. A recent study confirms low female participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), persistent barriers for undergraduate female students and faculty in STEM fields, and a widening gender gap in high-ranked positions.

This project will support a consortium, led by the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo, to apply an intersectional lens (ethnic-cultural, generational, regional, and socioeconomic) to assess gender gaps and identify systematic barriers to the insertion, permanence, and advancement of women in STEM-based study programs and professions. The project will design, pilot, monitor, and promote institutional policies to close the gender and intersectional gap in specific STEM areas and curb vertical segregation in STEM fields. It will also formulate national-level policy to increase women’s participation in STEM fields of study and employment and it seeks to improve women’s career progression in science and technology.

To account for the country’s ethnic and socio-cultural diversity, field research and interventions will involve 11 universities and other organizations based in five cities. The project is expected to contribute to positive change in attitudes and behaviours of staff at educational institutions, groups of researchers, policymakers, employers, and parents.

This project was selected for funding as part of the call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Mariana Santa Cruz is a psychologist and currently a professor at the Bolivian Catholic University of San Pablo. Her fields of interest and research are gender, development, child psychology and well-being. She is working as the research coordinator, as well as leading a research group on trans discipline and gender thematic. Mariana received a PHD degree in psychology from Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Ernesto Federico Viscarra is an economist from Universidad Católica Boliviana and the Head of Research at UTEPSA University in Bolivia. He has worked as an environmental economist dealing with agriculture, forests and climate change issues in several different Institutions and countries. He completed his PhD in Science and Management of Climate Change in the Economics Department of Ca´Foscari University of Venice in Italy.

Mary Cruz de Urioste has spent 25 years specializing in family and couple therapy and community development. She has worked at the Institute of Family Therapy in London, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC), and the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE) COLAM. She is the founder and first president of the Gender Observatory of the Public and Private Universities in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, and heads the Students Welfare and Advisory Department at UPSA.

109143 - Removing barriers to recruiting, retaining and advancing women in science and technology fields for promoting green industries in Colombia

The Project

Colombia needs to increase women’s participation and advancement in a more sustainable and inclusive approach to the country’s economic growth, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Female workers in the green industry sector tend to concentrate in less skilled occupations at lower career levels. Moreover, they face multiple organizational barriers when they attempt to lead industries toward environmentally beneficial transformations.

This project will enable two universities in Colombia to assist the country’s national training service in assessing and improving its ability and that of other stakeholders to promote female participation in science and technology training programs and the success of female graduates in science and technology careers in the green industry.

Specifically, the project will assess female students’ participation in science and technology programs and identify organizational factors that bear on their enrolment and retention, as well as their recruitment and advancement in the green industry. It will develop and implement strategies to increase women’s leadership in science and technology fields of Colombia’s green industry and design an outreach strategy to support greater participation and advancement of women in these occupations.

This project was selected for funding as part of the IDRC call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Paola Vásquez (Project leader – Principal researcher) is currently a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University Autonoma de Occidente in Colombia. Paola´s primary research interest is focused on sustainable production and circular economy in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the role of women in greening industries, cleaner production and organizational learning, and the integration and institutionalization of cleaner production in small-scaled industries in developing countries.

Inés Restrepo (researcher) is a professor in the engineering faculty of the University of Valle in Colombia. Her primary areas of academic interest include environmental sanitation and integrated water resources, water governance, cleaner production, water management in rural areas, small and medium municipalities, multiple uses of water, and environmental technology transfer.

Elizabeth Gomez (researcher) Elizabeth Gómez Etayo is currently Director of the Institute for Sustainability Studies at the University Autónoma de Occidente. She has worked as a professor and researcher in social and cultural issues with a gender focus. She is a Sociologist and Master in Sociology from the Universidad del Valle and a Doctor in Social Sciences from the University of Campinas, Brazil.

109144 - Supervision and Mentorship of Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Postgraduate Training Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Project

High quality postgraduate training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related disciplines in sub-Saharan Africa is an important element for effective science systems that can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. However, barriers that hinder women’s participation in STEM-related careers impede the potential for scientific progress. Effective supervision and mentorship have been identified as having a direct impact on postgraduate success in STEM-related programs, especially for underrepresented groups such as women. However, identifying gaps in supervision and mentorship of women is not possible given limited data on the number of women studying and working in postgraduate studies.

This project will examine the gender gaps in supervision and mentorship in STEM postgraduate programs of universities in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) that are members of the East African Community’s Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA). It will also assess the effectiveness of existing policies, models, and practices for supervision and mentorship in IUCEA member universities. The results of the project will contribute to new or improved guidelines, policies and practices that can more effectively address gender-specific barriers to women’s participation in post-graduate STEM programs.

This project will be implemented over 60 months by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in collaboration with the Inter-University Council for East Africa. It was selected for funding as part of the IDRC call for proposals on “Breaking Systemic Barriers to Women’s Participation in Science”.

The Team

Dr. Evelyn Gitau is the Director of Research Capacity Strengthening division at the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) where her main role is to expand opportunities for African scholars to become research leaders and to support the growth of APHRCs signature fellowship program, Consortia for Advanced Training in Africa (CARTA). Evelyn has more than 16 years’ experience in medical research and sits on the advisory board of several organizations.

Florah Karimi is currently the Program Manager of the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), which is a partnership program between 20 universities and research institutions, and whose aim is to improve African public health and population wellbeing. Florah has a vast experience in higher education, having previously served in various capacities in the higher education spectrum. Florah received her PHD in the Psychology of Education from the University of South Africa (South Africa).

109145 - Bridging the Gender Equality Gap in Science at the Women’s University in Africa

The Project

Despite government initiatives to reduce gender disparities in higher education in Zimbabwe, persistent gaps remain, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related fields. Only 19% of female students are enrolled in STEM, compared with 39% of male students (World Economic Forum, 2018). This project will assist the Women’s University in Africa (WUA) — a private university created in 2002 in Zimbabwe with a mission to empower mostly female students for leadership and developmental roles — to review, learn from, and improve its interventions to reduce systemic barriers and increase women’s participation in STEM disciplines.

A team of local researchers will use a mixed methods approach to identify and assess existing barriers and interventions. They will then work with members of WUA to design, implement, and monitor novel approaches and interventions to address the barriers that prevent women’s full participation in STEM fields at the university. The lessons learned from the project will be widely shared and they will target key stakeholders in an effort to inform and influence policies that support STEM in Zimbabwe’s higher education sector.

This project was selected for funding as part of the IDRC call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Dr Chingarande serves as the focal person for Zimbabwe for the USAID Funded Long-term Assistance and Services for Research (Laser) Partner University Led Solutions Engine (PULSE) (2019-2024). Previously, Prof. Chingarande has held various positions including Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University. Prof. Chingarande also works as a consultant in gender and women empowerment.

Wonder Muchabaiwa is the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education with the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University. He has wide experience in Teacher Education and Gender Studies.


Tenson Muyambo is a PhD holder, currently working as a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University. He is a distinguished academic and scholar of Gender and Religion.



109199 - Eliminating Barriers to Women’s Participation in Science - A Study of the African Research Universities Alliance

The Project

In Africa, as globally, women academics are concentrated in disciplines other than the natural, physical, and applied sciences (horizontal segregation) as well as in junior ranks (vertical stratification). This negatively affects the numbers of women available for leadership positions in academic institutions.

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) brings together 16 of sub-Saharan Africa’s research-intensive universities. As globally connected and respected institutions, these universities are trailblazers and role models for other African universities. This project will use a mixed-methods approach to explore the extent to which the participation of women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and in leadership has been considered and mainstreamed into ARUA member universities’ policies and practices. It will also explore the success or failure of these policies in addressing the under-representation of women in STEM fields and in academic leadership positions.

The project will focus on three interlinked aspects: the institutional culture (the recruitment, retention, and inclusion of women in STEM); the STEM research environment (promotion of diversity in STEM research teams); and university leadership (the gathering of statistics on women in senior leadership and management positions and the preparation of women for such positions). The research team will analyze, distill, and share lessons learned and best practices with ARUA universities and with key stakeholders and policymakers in the African higher education sector through conferences/workshops, articles, policy briefs, media releases, and social media channels.

The Team

Ms. Phyllis Kalele is the head of the African Collaboration sub-programme at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), and the Africa regional coordinator for Gender in Science Innovation Technology and Engineering (GenderInSITE), an international initiative that promotes the role of women in science, innovation, technology and engineering. Phyllis holds a BSc. degree in Botany and Zoology, MSc. degree in Environmental Sciences and is currently pursuing a PhD. in Science and Technology Studies.

Prof. Roseanne Diab is the Director of the global initiative, GenderInSITE, which is based in Trieste, Italy.  She is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal and is recognised for her research contributions in the field of atmospheric sciences, particularly air quality, climate change and tropospheric ozone variability.

Mr. Stanley Maphosa is the International and National Liaison Manager of the Academy of Science of South Africa; the Regional Coordinator of The World Academy of Science’s sub-Saharan Africa Regional Partner; and leads ASSAf’s Oversees Strategic Partnerships, Member Liaison, Transformation, Overseas Collaborations, African Collaborations, Gender in Science Technology and Innovation as well as Young Scientist Liaison. Stanley is a Disaster Management Professional, a member of the International Government Science Advisers (INGSA) African Chapter and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


109317 - Women in engineering education and careers in Bénin and Ghana

The Project

In Ghana and Benin, several policies and programs have contributed to closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. However, while women’s participation in fields such as health sciences has markedly improved over the years, the gap in engineering is still very wide. For example, at Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), female enrolment in the College of Engineering was 7.4% in 2014–2015. In Benin, 25% of students enrolled in various engineering courses are women and 10% of the engineering lecturers are women. There is also evidence that people from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds face additional barriers to participating in STEM fields.

This project focuses on key training and professional institutions in Ghana and Benin, such as KNUST, the Ghana Institution of Engineers, and engineering departments at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. Questionnaires and interviews will help to improve understanding of the career trajectories of women and men in engineering. By focusing on existing policies at these institutions, the project will identify specific factors that continue to impede progress towards gender equality in engineering.

The overall objective is to help bridge the gender gap in engineering in Ghana and Benin using original research and policy recommendations. The project specifically aims to assess the trends in women’s enrolment and participation in engineering courses and careers over the past three decades; identify systemic barriers that limit participation; and propose recommendations that can be developed by the institutions under study.

This project was selected for funding as part of IDRC’s call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Rose Omari is a Senior Research Scientist with expertise in multidisciplinary research. Her research interests are policy, regulatory, and consumer studies in agriculture, food safety, nutrition, health, ICT, science, technology and innovation. She has expertise in gender analysis and has been involved in various gender-focused activities, particularly in Ghana. Rose has a Master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Ghana, and a PhD degree in Rural Sociology (Food Studies) from Wageningen University and Research Center, The Netherlands

Dr. Tèko Augustin KOUEVI is a Senior Research Scientist and Assistant Professor at the School of Economics, Social-Anthropology and Communication for rural development at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin.  Augustin has expertise in multidisciplinary research design, implementation, and facilitation; responsive monitoring and evaluation of projects; research on innovation systems; and communication for innovation. He holds a PhD degree in Knowledge, Technology and Innovation from the University of Wageningen and Research Centre, the Netherlands.

Gnanki Nathalie KPERA is a Senior Researcher at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin. She has expertise in planning, monitoring and evaluation of research projects that she implements in Benin, Togo, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. Her activism for women's rights and breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science made her a member of the Women Scientists Association of Benin and the leader of the women association of the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB).

Pascaline Babadankpodji is a senior researcher and lecturer, agricultural economist, gender and development specialist at the School of Economics, Social-Anthropology and Communication for Rural Development. She teaches Microeconomy, Agricultural Accounting and Finance, and Gender and Development in different public and private universities of the Republic of Benin. She is active member and head of many gender associations, including the university women association, the gender observatory of the University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), the gender focal point of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of UAC.

S. Claude-Gervais ASSOGBA is an Agricultural Social-Anthropologist, senior Researcher and Assistant Professor at the Department of Rural Economics and Sociology at the Faculty of Agronomy, University of Parakou in the Republic of Benin. He teaches and researches on social representations of environment and natural resources, farmers’ rationalities and strategies in farming systems, management of knowledge and innovation processes, and communication.

109320 - Technoscientific labour and gender equity in Argentina: comparing barriers and opportunities for women in the public and private sectors

The Project

This project investigates the dynamics that shape women's participation and careers in science and technology organizations in Argentina. In recent years, gender equity indicators have improved for women employed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, but disparities still exist.

Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, the project will characterize recruitment, promotion, evaluation, and performance dynamics and determine how these dynamics influence women's career paths. The three fields and organizations under study are nuclear physics at the National Atomic Energy Commission; agricultural technological research at the National Agricultural Technology Institute; and software development at IT firms belonging to the Chamber of Argentinian Software Industries.

The research will complement structural and quantitative analyses by highlighting gender bias in relation to the cognitive, technical, or material division of labour, including recruitment and performance evaluation. The research employs a participatory approach and is expected to yield original insights to inform science policies and practices.

This project was selected for funding as part of IDRC’s call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Pablo KREIMER is a sociologist with a Ph.D. in “Science, Technology, and Society” (STS Center, Paris). He is a Superior Investigator at the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), a professor at the National University of Quilmes and director of the STS Center at Maimónides University. He specializes in political sociology of science with a focus on the historical dynamics of scientific fields, internationalization of research, relations between production and use of scientific research, and coproduction of knowledge between central and peripheral contexts.

Hugo Ferpozzi is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Science, Technology and Society in Argentina. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires with a background in Sociology. His research interests lie broadly in the sociology of scientific knowledge and the division of scientific labour in Argentinian biomedical research.

Guillermina Yansen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Science, Technology and Society (STS Centre). She holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires with a background in Sociology and a master in Sociology and Political Sciences (FLACSO Argentina). She also teaches "Informatics and social relations" in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the UBA and is a member of the e-TCS team (in STS Centre).

109321 - Supporting Indigenous Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Peru

The Project

Access to tertiary education is limited for many Indigenous people in Peru (who represent 46% of the country’s population). Despite the Government of Peru’s fellowship program for Indigenous peoples, which aligns with the National Policy for Science and Technology, only 0.5% of university students are Indigenous. Of these, women make up only 32%, and this percentage is even lower in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). To increase this number, there is a need for a greater understanding of the experiences of Indigenous women pursuing STEM education.

This project will support the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in generating evidence to help Peru’s National Fellowship and Educational Loan Program (PRONABEC) improve its strategies to increase the access, retention, and graduation of Indigenous women pursuing STEM careers. Specifically, it will assess the extent to which Peru’s fellowship program increases access, permanence, and graduation of Indigenous women in STEM. It will assess the strategies of four universities to increase access, permanence, and graduation of Indigenous women awarded fellowships, and it will identify successful and replicable strategies developed by two Indigenous-led initiatives aiming to provide post-secondary education to Indigenous youth.

Indigenous perspectives will be prominent in the research design and data collection and interpretation. The project will conduct an analysis of official databases and documents, as well as in-depth individual and group interviews. The dissemination of results will include a peer-reviewed publication identifying the best practices to improve Peru’s fellowship program for Indigenous peoples; guidelines for universities to support Indigenous women; and a video highlighting the challenges faced by Indigenous women, the impact of fellowships, and institutional best practices to support Indigenous women in science.

This project was selected for funding as part of IDRC’s call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Dr. Amalia Pesantes’ research focuses in intercultural and Indigenous health with an emphasis in the Peruvian Amazon and health inequalities among various vulnerable groups. Recently she started exploring the experiences of Indigenous women in higher education. She is currently a Research Associate at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Amalia holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Inés Olivera Rodríguez’s research focuses in higher education, especially in quality assurance and interculturality. She has a PhD in Anthropology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a Master's degree in anthropology from the same university and another master degree in educational research from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil). She also has a specialization diploma in gender studies and a BA in anthropology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

Cynthia Cárdenas’ research focuses on indigenous professionalization, intercultural health, and indigenous medicine. She has researched the experiences of Amazonian indigenous women in Peru, and worked as a consultant for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture of Peru. She has a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos (Peru) and a Master’s degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in ethnology from the Universidad Federal Belem do Pará (Brazil).

109322 - Breaking Barriers to Women’s Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Ethiopia

The Project

In Ethiopia, women are extremely underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Government data for 2013 showed that women constitute less than 10% of the engineering and technology research workforce. Recognizing that scientific and technological advancement requires more women in STEM, the Ministry of Education established several policies to increase female enrollment in STEM programs, increase the number of women in academic leadership roles, enhance scientific publishing by women researchers, and hire more women faculty. However, little is known about the effectiveness of such policies.

This research project, led by the University of Gondar, will generate evidence to assist the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia and three public universities (Bahir Dar, Debre Tabor, and Debark) to improve their policies to increase women’s participation in STEM programs, leadership, research, and employment. The research will identify and assess the impact of these policies; assess the barriers to women in STEM fields; and identify policy and practice changes to increase the participation of women in STEM.

This project was selected for funding as part of the call for proposals “Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Abate Gebeyehu Begashaw is a faculty member at the University of Gondar, College of Social Sciences. He focuses primarily on health and education policies, global mental health, Science and Technology (STEM) and higher education policy, and health economics. He also maintains an interest in policy and program evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, particularly in areas of health insurance and other social welfare policies geared towards assisting disadvantaged groups such as women, children, and people with disabilities.

109323 - Gender Disparities, Career Choices, and Wage Dynamics in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics occupations in Brazil

The Project

This project investigates the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations in Brazil. Prior research found that women in STEM fields publish less, are paid less for their research, and do not progress in their careers as far as men. This project will analyze national longitudinal data on firms and employees in research institutions, government-owned enterprises, and private enterprises to understand the causes and consequences of these gender gaps.

Tracing changes over 15 years will enable the researchers to track both the entry and the progression of workers in STEM fields through their careers. The approach will enable researchers to determine whether the STEM gender gap can be explained primarily by wage differences at the beginning of the career or by career path differences. Identifying these disparities and their determinants is fundamental to guide policies that aim to reduce gender gaps in STEM.

This project was selected for funding as part of IDRC’s call for proposals “Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.

The Team

Cecilia Machado is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Economics of Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV EPGE). Her areas of interest include labor economics, econometrics and applied microeconomics. Cecilia has done research on program evaluations and estimation of treatment effects, on gender differences in the labor market, and family formation and dissolution. She received her PhD degree at Columbia in 2010.

Laísa Rachter is a PhD Student at the Graduate School of Economics of Fundação Getúlio Vargas. She received a master’s degree in economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 2014. Her areas of interest include labor economics and applied econometrics. Currently, she is a researcher Brazilian Economics Institute (IBRE) – a branch of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) – where she is responsible for doing research on the Brazilian labor market and its most important trends.