Inhibitors and Promoters of Quality Research Outputs for Women in the Library and Information Science (LIS) Profession in Africa

Inhibitors and Promoters of Quality Research Outputs for Women in the Library and Information Science (LIS) Profession in Africa

Nomusa Zimu-Biyela (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0043-9.ch008


This chapter aims to explore inhibitors and promoters of quality research output for women in general and with specific reference to the library and information science (LIS) discipline and profession in Africa. It is envisaged that findings might help influence established, novice and potential women researchers in Africa to engage in collaborative production of quality research outputs, particularly women in the LIS profession. The chapter is organized into sections. First, the introduction and background, in which the uneven global bibliometrics about women in the research profession is highlighted. Then problem statement, research aims, and research methodology are described. After which, a theoretical framework, a literature review including inhibitors and promoters, are discussed. The chapter recommends women to work towards positioning themselves on the global scholarly landscape.
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Introduction And Background

Gender equality is goal number five (5) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda for SDGs is more ambitious, envisaging the eradication of poverty, the systematic tackling of climate change and building peaceful, resilient, equitable and inclusive societies (United Nation Women Eastern & Southern Africa, n.d.). It is apparent that gender issue is a global concern and a topical issue in the development discourse. It has affected women in almost all aspects of life such as social, economic, health, political, education and research. The Global Research Council (GRC) and UK Research and Innovation (2019) opine that research excellence must be conducted within the context of inclusivity. Combined commitment to research is crucial in promoting research excellence that is critical for academic, economic and societal development. Cooperation and collaboration can enhance the quality of science, the diversity of talent, avoid unnecessary duplication, provide economies of scale and address issues that can only be solved by working together (Global Research Council (GRC) and UK Research and Innovation, 2019).

However, literature indicates that the fruits of collaborative research excellence are yet to be reaped, as women still constitute only 30% of global researchers (Global Research Council (GRC) & UK Research and Innovation, 2019). Franco-Orozco and Franco-Orozco (2018) assert that women constitute only 28.8% of global researchers. Elsevier Gender Report (2017); WHO (2015) assert that in 2015, UNESCO reported that women constituted only 28% of global researchers. Furthermore, Elsevier Gender Report (2017) avers that women are better represented in the Life and Health Sciences. A disproportionate gender representation in Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) has been noted (Elsevier Gender Report, 2017). For example, Bolivia and Venezuela reflects representation of 63% and 56% respectively; while Korea and Japan have 18% and 15% respectively. In France, Germany and the Netherlands, only 25% of women work as researchers (Elsevier Gender Report, 2017).

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