The Secretary-General has issued a call for greater gender equality in science, emphasizing the systemic barriers and biases that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in this field. He highlighted the fact that women only make up a third of the global scientific community, receive less funding than men, are underrepresented in publications, and hold fewer senior positions in major universities. In some places, women and girls have limited or no access to education, which he described as a violation of human rights.
The Secretary-General believes that it is essential to have women and girls participate equally in scientific discoveries and innovations. To achieve this, he suggests addressing gender stereotypes, promoting role models to encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, developing programs to advance women in science, and creating work environments that nurture women’s talents, especially those from minority groups. He concluded by stating that women and girls belong in science and it is time to recognize that inclusion fosters innovation.
UNESCO has chosen “Closing the gender gap in science” as the theme for this year’s International Day, with a Call for Action providing recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of gender-based inequalities in science. This aligns with SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality, which aims to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, eliminate harmful practices such as early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, and provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health care. Globally, almost half of all married women currently lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights.