The SDGs science report “The Future is Now” talks about inclusivity.
One of the main axis of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development 2022 will be inclusivity. It is of course related to SGDs 5 (Gender equality) and 10 (Reduced inequalities) but also to SDGs 4 (Quality education) and 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions), at least.
The authors of the report focus more on technology, but the situation is more or less the same for science:
Technology also plays a central role in discussions around inequality. On the one hand, inequalities in access to, or capacity to work with, technology threatens to translate into a broader set of inequalities related to well-being.
Some of those inequalities are well documented: for instance, there is a gender gap in mobile internet use in developing countries, estimated at 23 per cent globally, with especially high values in South Asia (58 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (41 per cent), but down to 2 per cent in Latin America. Such persistent gaps in connectivity can also be observed among other population groups.
The participation of all individuals who wish to, whatever their origin, their social or geographical position, or their gender, is essential for the progress of basic sciences. IYBSSD 2022 will affirm the need for inclusive research and will lead initiatives to advance it. In particular, it will highlight women scientists at the highest level.
Fairness and efficiency
We shouldn’t only aim to be fair, or to reach a situation where everybody woul have the same chances, which would be already good. We aim also to be more efficient. Any group that can do science will do it differently, with different views, and will enrich the whole picture. It will also help to bring more suitable solutions to specific problems.
In order to integrate social objectives in science, technology and innovation policies, it would be important to consider the specific situations and needs of poor people, women and other vulnerable groups. Otherwise, impoverished and vulnerable populations may have to deal with unsuitable technologies chosen by others.
Previous scientific International years have already initiated programmes to bring up to date scientific equipments in countries where there were not any. IYBSSD 2022 will follow up these programmes and help to expand them.
To be continued.