The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has come up with this online database of women scientists working in the field of agriculture.
The database’s objectives are:
* To promote activities such as diversity-positive recruitment.
* To promote international teamwork among women agriculturalists
* To promote cross-cultural communications among women scientists in the agricultural sector.
* Showcase women talent in the field of agriculture.
* Advance women’s interests by availing information on scholarships and agricultural-related training opportunities.
I am more interested in the last two objectives. CGIAR largely operates in developing countries that suffer chronic food shortages. Among its many programs, CGIAR uses modern agricultural biotechnology to solve poor countries’ food problems.
There is a whole gamut of women scientists working in the field of agricultural biotechnology. Many have, and continue to excel in their respective areas of specialization. Africa, for example, has Dr. Florence Wambugu who has distinguished herself as an ardent advocate of agricultural biotechnology as an affective tool to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.
There are more women scientists of Dr. Wambugu’s competence in the developing world, but they are hardly known beyond the borders of their countries. Existing societal biases makes it hard from them to explore opportunities for advancement. This makes it hard for them to grow both professionally and career wise. This database must elevate the profile of such women scientists. The agricultural world needs them.
The biotech industry is fast gaining prominence. Africa and other developing regions of the world would only benefit from the many potential applications of biotechnology not only by developing a mass of well trained biotechnologists, but also exposing them to the world. This database is an invaluable avenue for women scientists wishing to explore the world.
To ensure that this database better benefits women scientists, CGIAR should consider working closely with national and international scientific institutions because they well understand the needs of their women scientists.