The Secretary-General of the United Nations has highlighted the systemic barriers and biases that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in science. He pointed out that despite making up a third of the global scientific community, women receive less funding compared to 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 emphasized the need to address gender stereotypes, promote role models to encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, develop programs to advance women in science, and create work environments that nurture women’s talents, especially those from minority groups.
UNESCO and UN Women have chosen “Closing the gender gap in science” as the theme for this year’s International Day. Their Call for Action provides 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.