Panel 23

Gendered Mobilities in Science Technology and Innovation in Africa

Panel organiser: Rufai Haruna Kilu, The Research and Consultancy Centre, University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana.

E-mail: haruna.rufai@upsamail.edu.gh

There are rising global concerns over dominant masculinity cultures in the fields of Science Technology and Innovation (STI). The case of Africa is worse, characterized with problematic developmental limitations. The unequal distribution of men and women in STI equally raise concerns relating to gender inequalities, inclusion, diversity, sustainability, competitiveness and further questions the social innovative prospects for the African continent. These differential representations of gender in STI combine and overlap in significant ways that are often neglected in public debates and policy initiatives. However, since 1990s, Africa has witnessed significant transformations in STI in many sectors; from agro processing to education, governance to gender, and technology to innovation with ICT shaping lifestyles, lifting millions from poverty, providing alternative and sustainable sources of income and stretching the reach of quality life to rural and remote areas. Interestingly many women have been at the forefront in creating, innovating, improving and transforming lives through deployment of appropriate technological tools. Take the following examples: Akaliza Keza Gara from Rwanda, now a member of the 4Afrika advisory council for Microsoft; also, the ‘She Leads Africa’ initiative is empowering young women to excel in business; further, the ‘Ushahidi’ invention, is a crisis-mapping tool, co-created out of two Kenyan women’s digital exploits, catering for vulnerable communities. Similarly a young Cameroonian woman entrepreneur co-founded the ‘Gifted Mom’ mobile health platform that uses low-cost technology to help mothers and pregnant women access medical advice in remote and rural communities. Then the case of three women miners in Ghana listed among the global 100 most inspirational women miners in 2016. There may be several of these women’s creative works unnoticed across the African continent. In view of this, this panel invites papers with narrative accounts that unveil and illuminate inventions and technological breakthroughs by women that are reshaping the African continent. The outcome of which is to document and augment frontiers of scientific knowledge in that field of study. Papers are expected to be cutting edge, empirically explicit and theoretically engaging on analysis of gender patterns and gains made by women in both private and public sectors relating to STI in the African context.

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