Gender Summit 10: Advancing Scientific Endeavors for Sustainable Development
Photo by IISD/ENB | Pamela Chasek
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The tenth Gender Summit is about to convene in Tokyo, Japan, where scholars and policymakers will call for action on integrating gender equality into all research and innovation aimed at meeting the SDGs.

The GS10 call to action will urge the UN, the Japanese Government, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Asia-Pacific, as well as industry and other stakeholders in science endeavors, to adopt key recommendations on gender equality as necessary conditions to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

The Gender Summit (GS), an international platform for addressing gender issues in research and innovation, originated in Europe in 2011. Since then, the GS platform evolved to respond to regional needs and opportunities with separate platforms for Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. The tenth Gender Summit is about to convene in Tokyo, Japan, where scholars and policymakers will call for action on integrating gender equality into all research and innovation aimed at meeting the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Each Gender Summit is led by a prominent research funding organisation acting in partnership with other important science funders and policy making bodies. The focus of the Summit is on new scientific evidence, and it engages scientists, gender scholars, and policy makers, as well as other stakeholders such as industry and education communities in examining the evidence. The Summit proceedings seek to establish consensus where gender equality improvements are needed, and where new opportunities for research and innovation are emerging, and it proposes who should take action.

The forthcoming Gender Summit 10, led by the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Science Council of Japan, will show how improving gender equality in science and society leads to more effective solutions to national and global societal challenges. While advancements towards gender equality have taken place around the world, persistent issues obstruct progress towards socio-economic development, which could be made possible through greater gender equality in research and innovation.

More than 100 organizations have been involved in shaping the programme of Gender Summit 10, which will take place at the Hitotsubashi Hall, in Tokyo on 25-26 May 2017. Many others have expressed support for its mission, including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Cabinet Office, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), as well as the Japan National Committee for UN Women and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. Participants will learn about research and innovation conducted in over 80 companies, universities, and by other stakeholders in science endeavors.

The core goal of GS10 is to demonstrate that gender issues are important to all SDGs, not only Goal 5.

A prominent feature of Gender Summit 10 is its strong focus on the global challenges related to the SDGs, and the social responsibility of science. Whilst Gender Summit 10 endorses the needs and ambitions of SDG 5, to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” its core goal is to demonstrate that gender issues are also important for the achievement of all SDGs. Gender Summit 10 proposes a new concept of Gender Equality 2.0, in which actions for gender equality also should respect related sources of inequality in society, such age, sex, social status, education, ethnicity, race, disability. This approach reflects the UN General Assembly agreement that “Systematic mainstreaming of gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda is crucial” (A/RES/70/1).

The main output of Gender Summit 10 – Asia Pacific will be the ‘Tokyo Recommendations’ on improving SDG implementation through gender equality. The key recommendation is described as BRIDGE (Better Research and Innovation through Diversity and Gender Equality), a call to action to advance Gender Equality 2.0 objectives into all research and innovation agendas designed to provide solutions for SDG targets. The benefits of this approach were defined at Gender Summit 6 – Asia Pacific, held from 26-28 August 2015, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, through the expert report ‘The Role of Gender-based Innovations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals,’ supported by the Seoul Declaration to Advance Gendered Research, Innovation and Socio-economic Development in the Asia Pacific. The Declaration recommends nine evidence-based criteria for effective multi-stakeholder collaboration.

The Gender Summit 10 call to action will urge the UN, the Japanese Government, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Asia-Pacific, as well as industry and other stakeholders in science endeavors, to adopt three recommendations on gender equality as necessary conditions to accelerate progress towards the SDGs:

  • Gender equality is an essential determinant of societal sustainability and well being, and affects how science, technology and innovation can improve people’s lives. As such, gender equality provides a BRIDGE through which different SDG targets can be connected to help enhance implementation of all SDGs.
  • Gender equality should be “BRIDGEd” with science, technology and innovation, and integrated into the implementation of all 17 SDGs, through interventions based on the best scientific knowledge and technologies that recognize gender differences as an important factor of ensuring that solutions work effectively for all members of society. These gender equality objectives should be adopted by all stakeholders, including industry, as part of their sustainability agendas.
  • Gender equality in the context of the SDGs must recognize the influence of human and societal diversity, in particular how societies define and BRIDGE the roles and attitudes to women, girls, men, boys, ethnicity, race, cultures etc.

We would like to encourage a broad spectrum of people to participate in the Gender Summit 10, and to advance the acceptance of the Tokyo Recommendations: BRIDGE. We also encourage the research, innovation and development communities to join regional dialogues on gender issues in research, innovation and development.

The Gender Summit is an international platform for dialogue between scientists, gender scholars, policy makers, as well as industry and education stakeholders, to improve scientific understanding of how gender issues impact on quality of outcomes in research, innovation, and socio-economic development, and produce different effects for women and men. The theme of GS10-Asia Pacific is ‘Better Science and Innovation through Gender, Diversity and Inclusive Engagement.’

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