The Philippines Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program aims to improve the science technology and innovation ecosystem in the Philippines to promote inclusive growth, create jobs, and improve lives. One of the goals of USAID projects is to incorporate gender as often as possible. In 2014 the STRIDE program conducted a gender analysis to ensure its incorporation of gender equity into program activities. This gender analysis and assessment provided the foundation for a gender action plan, resulting in various programs, discussions, and findings aimed at improving gender equity outcomes.
One of the first activities the STRIDE program conducted were gender focus group discussions to gain insight into successes and failures of the STRIDE program when it comes to gender. These outcomes, coupled with working with the Philippine government’s Harmonized Gender Development Guidelines (HGDG), showed the ways that the STRIDE program could improve from being just “gender sensitive” to being “gender responsive.”
In 2016, the STRIDE program held gender-awareness trainings for a few STRIDE-funded research teams. The program also held a national gender awareness workshop in Manila for more than 50 principal investigators and researchers supported by STRIDE. An additional 7 trainings were conducted in a variety of locations to cater to both new grantees and research personnel who could not attend previous sessions.
Between 2017 and 2019, trainings were also used as a venue for addressing potential shortcomings in the STRIDE program and as a continuous revision tool for program activities. The trainings expanded to capacitate STRIDE grantees into incorporating gender-responsiveness in their STI endeavors. Gender mainstreaming, training, and techniques for responding to gender-sensitive questions.
The STRIDE program has provided opportunities for Philippine researchers to both incorporate gender within their own project work as well as enable female researchers to participate in research at various levels. This program works at both the institutional level and individual level to ensure gender equity responsiveness.
Most recently, STRIDE conducted a gender study to analyze the current landscape for women’s participation in science, technology, research, and innovation in the Philippines. The paper reinforces STRIDE’s objectives of supporting scientific research by promoting the retention of women in the scientific workforce through equal opportunities and access to career development. Although the Philippines ranks high in gender equity worldwide and among the best among Asian countries, it does have a problem of a “leaky pipeline” which causes the loss of women in the fields of STI, particularly at a relatively senior level. The paper highlights gender-responsive government policies for retention and incentives for Filipina scientists to return to the Philippines and benefit from one of the most gender friendly policies in Asia could be a way to increase the overall pipeline of scientists in the Philippines.