ALWIS Founder Anissa Belfetmi, and Vice-President Sabrina Absalon participated to a roundtable discussion on the 9th December 2021 to consider the contribution of science to the priorities for the EU-Africa summit. ALWIS joined the session "Women's Movements in
African Science, Technology, and Innovation: what are the right policy support instruments".
This session aims to give more visibility to different women's movements in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, and to get their recommendations regarding how we can improve the status of women in science in Africa and globally, and what are the needed policy support instruments.
Anissa Belfetmi explained the concept behind ALWIS: “All of us are volunteers and give our time and energy free of charge and our group is free and accessible to all members. We strive to give equality of access to women who may not otherwise enjoy such access.”
She added, “Something that is lacking is that universities do not foster mentoring for girls who want a career in science so our universities should employ mentoring officers to tackle this. We have also noticed that many are more comfortable in group mentoring rather than one on one mentoring so we have tailored what we do to this".
"We still have the image of science as the preserve for white males from western countries so we need more visibility for female African scientists. Currently, the feeling is that they are left on the side. We should also encourage the African diaspora to create a path for young women in science.”
Sabrina Absalon commented on the situation of women in science: “What is striking is the lack of role models for young women and also the fact that they don’t have strong visibility of their work. Female scientists also miss a sense of having a strong network and, sadly, they do not get a sense of the impact of their work in the industries where they work, be it in Africa or the rest of the world.”
The purpose of this roundtable discussion was to come out with a list of suggestions and recommendations to put in place policy strategies to help African Women In Science. Algerian Women In Science contributed with a few suggestions that will help women in Algeria and other African countries succeed better in their careers.
Initiate Diversity & Inclusion offices at local Universities and companies
Build a culture of mentoring and encourage the retention of African women in STEMM
Create funds and fellowships for African women in STEMM
Encourage the diaspora to work or collaborate in Africa