Bridging the gender equality gap in science at the Women’s University in Africa

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”.

Project ID


Project status



36 months

IDRC Officer

Claire Thompson

Total funding

CA$ 226,600




Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Dominica Chingarande


University of Zimbabwe

Institution Country


Institution Website