TWAS – an overwhelmingly grey and male affair – is trying to get more female and young scientists involved in their activities. This was the main message from the general meeting of TWAS members this morning preceding the official opening ceremony of the conference.
The organisation is preparing a strategic plan, to come into force next year. Women, youth and having a more direct impact on policy are some of the important issues to be highlighted in the plan.
To the organisation’s credit, a record number of female scientists were elected to TWAS in 2009. But the women – eight this year – still only make up a small part of the 50 new members announced this year. Of all the members of TWAS, only 7-8 per cent are women.
The meeting also heard that there will be more activities involving young scientists at next year’s TWAS conference in Hyderabad, India.
All this sounds good. But some members complained that there was not enough emphasis on basic, and in particular experimental, science in the new TWAS strategy.
Linda Nordling, SciDev.Net