Without science and technical qualifications, our demographic bonus is just a number. Therefore, we need to prepare female researchers.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Women researchers undoubtedly are essential human resources for the development of a nation.

Results of research and innovation by women researchers can also provide answers and solutions to various problems such as climate change, clean energy, environmental sustainability, and appropriate technology.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women. This means that women's participation in science is still relatively low.

To this end, International Women’s Day, which is celebrated every March 8, is an opportunity to increase awareness of all parties on promoting women’s participation in the development of science and innovation.

Women are expected to become conscious of their potential and explore their abilities and interest in research and innovation because these are key for building an advanced nation.

Indonesia is concerned about investing in producing excellent women researchers because that is an integral part of the development of excellent human resources.

An increase in the participation of women researchers would also foster Indonesia's progress towards the Golden Indonesia 2045 vision.

To reach the target, more people need to master science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

According to a researcher in the field of electrochemical process technology at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Prof. Eniya Listiani Dewi, more than 50 percent of university graduates in Indonesia are women. However, only 18–36 percent of the total go into research.

In fact, only 18 percent of the total women researchers are working in the field of STEM. This is due to the limitations faced by women related to familial responsibilities, tradition and culture, as well as mindsets.

Opportunities for women

Based on that fact, support from all parties, including men, is needed to encourage women’s participation in science and innovation.

To boost women’s participation, three essential things, namely support, investment, and acceptance of women in the world of industrial engineering and science, must be promoted to inspire young women, Dewi emphasized.

Changes must be made to promote Indonesian women’s participation in STEM, including through role models and mentoring programs.

Another essential thing is optimizing the development of the digital economy for encouraging women to participate in entrepreneurship.

For that reason, preparing women researchers from an early age and increasing the younger generation’s interest in science and technology is essential to achieve the 2045 Golden Indonesia goals.

"Without science and technical qualifications, our demographic bonus is just a number. Therefore, we need to prepare female researchers," she remarked.

In addition, scholarships and research funds facilitation must be promoted throughout the country, including in small cities and villages.

At the regional level, BRIN can also encourage and motivate women to become researchers.

Meanwhile, regional heads can encourage staff or community leaders, especially women, to study abroad and develop their regions once they come back home.

According to Dewi, today, there are an increasing number of opportunities and competitions globally, including in Indonesia, through which women can get more involved in the world of research and innovation.

She noted that currently, women researchers have more opportunities to develop, with greater access to scholarships and technological developments that help them obtain information.

To this end, young people, especially women, must have a bigger motivation to enter the world of science and innovation since they now have easier access to information, she said.

She recalled that access to information was still limited during her college days, and she mainly gleaned information from books.

“Hopefully, women will be more active and will support each other. We certainly hope that all parties can support women," the researcher remarked.

Familial support

Support from families is one of the crucial factors for boosting women’s participation in the development of science and innovation, a researcher in the field of environmental technology at BRIN, Dr. Neni Sintawardani, said.

Sintawardani, who received the Underwriters Laboratories-ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2021 in the Senior Scientist Category award, said that she grew up in a family that is close to the world of research since her mom is a teacher and her dad is an Indonesian Military (TNI) officer and artist.

Reminiscing about her childhood, she said that when she was little, she used to discuss many things with her parents to fulfill her curiosity.

Her inquisitiveness and the supportive environment around her eventually became the basis for her joining the field of research.

Families are not an obstacle to working in research and innovation, she said. In fact, they can be a source of support for improving one’s ability to continue to innovate, she added.

She said that her husband and children have also supported her to continue her career in science and innovation.

As long as there is communication and mutual understanding, all are expected to be able to understand each other and understand the work of researchers.

Therefore, it is hoped that all parties, including families and men, can continue to encourage Indonesian women to boost their participation in their respective fields, especially in the STEM field, because science and technology can help meet the needs of the Indonesian people and nation.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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