In order to achieve full and equal access and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly declared February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Around only 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education, according to UNESCO data. Recent studies have also suggested that 65 percent of children entering school today will end up having jobs that do not yet exist. While more girls are attending school than ever before, they are significantly under-represented in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in many settings and they appear to lose interest in STEM subjects as they reach adolescence. International Day of Women and Girls in Science is designed to bring attention to these facts and help bridge the gap for women equality in STEM fields.
That is why this day was created by UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, along with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This year, the theme of International Day of Women and Girls in Science is Inclusive Green Growth, which contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Part of the Global Goals that world leaders agreed to in 2015, include countries around the world pledging to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. This means that the jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation, and if the gender divide in STEM is not bridged soon, the overall gender gap is likely to widen.
Today is designed to help improve recruitment, retention, and promotion policies, as well as continuous learning for women so they can not only enter STEM fields confidently, but thrive in them.
Join the movement on this International Day of Women and Girls in Science by celebrating those who are leading innovation and breaking barriers. Learn more about how you can help change the narrative at www.un.org/en/events/women-and-girls-in-science-day.
Check out these other articles highlighting great pioneers for women in science.