The observance of International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a result of the significant gender gap that has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. While women globally have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.
SDG 5, which has placed focus on achieving gender equality, and has always been a core issue for the United Nations, will make a crucial contribution not only to the economic development of the world but to progress across all the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well.
Background: International Day of Women and Girls in Science
On 14 March 2011, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted a report at its fifty-fifth session, with agreed conclusions on access and participation of women and girls in education, training and science and technology, and for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. On 20 December 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology and innovation for development, in which it recognized that full and equal access to and participation in science, technology and innovation for women and girls of all ages is imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilise political will and resources to address global problems and celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.
The full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the science and technology communities is more important than ever. Now is the time to recognise women’s contributions in research and innovation, smash stereotypes and defeat discrimination against women and girls in science.