8 February 2018

Concerted Efforts Needed to Overcome Systemic Bias Preventing Women, Girls from Pursuing Science, Secretary-General Says in International Day Video Message

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, observed on 11 February, aired in New York today:

Both girls and boys have the potential to pursue their ambitions in science and mathematics, in school and at work.  But, systemic discrimination means women occupy less than 30 per cent of research and development jobs worldwide.

We need concerted, concrete efforts to overcome stereotypes and biases.  One starting point is banishing the predominantly male images of scientists and innovators on social media, in textbooks and in advertising.

We need to encourage and support girls and women to achieve their full potential as scientific researchers and innovators.  Women and girls need this — and the world needs this — if we are to achieve our ambitions for sustainable development on a healthy planet.

Throughout history, from Hildegard of Bingen to Wangari Maathai, women scientists have built our world.  It’s time to support and invest in them.

For information media. Not an official record.