Modernity encourages an environment of innovation and ideas, many of which go towards science and engineering. Science and engineering can often be one of the most critical resources for developing countries. It can lead to solutions for prominent issues, including the economy, health, and development. Modern science is often contributed to new technology and research; however, it tends to lack other necessary aspects of modernity, like gender.
In an ideal modern world, people of all genders are equal, as smaller gender gaps lead to more innovative environments. In Africa, the lack of women is not as prominent in areas such as politics and leadership. Rwanda had the highest number of women in its parliament worldwide (1), the percentage of women in parliament in Africa has nearly doubled in the last twenty years, and countries including Burundi, South Africa, Liberia, Gabon, and Malawi have all had women presidents or leaders (2). While these numbers are still low, it's more than other countries, including the US, can account for. Unfortunately, the increase of women in political positions in Africa fails to impact the amount of women in science and engineering.
It is vital to note that the exclusion of women from the sciences is by no means an African phenomenon. For example, while young women only represent about 7-12% of engineering students in Africa, these percentages are in some cases higher than areas in Europe and North America (3). About 28% of researchers worldwide are women (4). In African Arab States, women represent 37% of researchers, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 30%. This large gap within these careers prevent Africa from obtaining a modern science community, which is why many organizations throughout Africa work to acknowledge and stress the importance of women in science.
The African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE) organization aims to create a mass of African women scientists through empowerment programs and by highlighting the contributions in science made by women5. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has held workshops for women scientists and engineers, as well as university women, to help them find opportunities in training and research for Africa's development agenda (6).