Involving women in science, implementing the 2030 Agenda
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population. Yet, they are not fully participating within the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a gender gap still remaining far too wide across the globe. Indeed, women account for less than 30 per cent of all researchers in the world and where one in nine men graduate in the fields of science, the number for women is only one in 14.
In an effort to promote greater participation of women and girls within this area, and in line with the ambitions of the new 2030 Agenda, the United Nations celebrated the first ever International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February.
“Too many girls all over the world cannot go to school just because they are girls. Being a girl or a boy shouldn’t decide if you can go to school or not,” said 11-year-old Rebecca Jekogian, who addressed the event, organized by the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), in close collaboration with UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD).
“Problems we have today like global warming won’t be solved by our parents. The real solutions will be invented by girls like me. So it’s important that parents, governments and the UN make sure that girls everywhere go to school,” she added, also sharing her dreams and aspirations of one day becoming a neuroscientist.
Numerous speakers encouraged women to get involved in science with confidence. “The world needs science, and science needs women”, said Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Special Representative and Director of UNESCO Office at the United Nations.
Therefore, men and women workers should have equal access to high-quality education, health care, social and legal protections, decent work opportunities, as well as fundamental rights at work. The event on 11 February also emphasized the need for gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and their involvement within the field of science for the international community to be able to realize the sustainable development goals.
“The 2030 Agenda places gender equality and empowerment of women and girls atits core. It recognizes the importance of girls and women not just as beneficiaries, but as contributors and drivers of change,” said Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Now we need more women involved in more sectors. Science, technology and innovation is one of the foundations upon which we can build action around the SDGs. Women who are scientists today and girls who aspire to be scientists tomorrow must be empowered to play a central role in this,” he concluded.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need a strong science base, and cannot be accomplished without girls and women. It is critical to strive to ensure both, quality and parity in science.