To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science - UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.
At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 - 2016), only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 percent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 percent).
In many parts of the world, girls and young women continue to carry the double burden of being both young and female. They often face negative cultural attitudes and practices as well as gender- biased social and political processes that limit their opportunities and undermine their self esteem. Moreover, girls and women shoulder the heaviest burdens of poverty and inequality as they stand on the frontlines as victims of climate change, including those of natural disasters.
Despite all the hardships and difficulties encountered by women and girls all around the world, without a doubt, they possess the collective power to change their lives, the societies and the world we live in. Just as they solve their daily issues in their families, women are continually developing innovative, effective ways to improve their lives and even, develop their communities. By bringing together their wisdom, intelligence and creativity, young women are, indeed, leading change and innovation.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth as per our Fourth Millennium Plan of Action, we encourage all stakeholders to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all young women, at all levels. WAY also encourage all members to undertake necessary reforming actions to give young women the equal rights to economic resources, as well as to ownership and control over the other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources.
We believe meaningful progress must start with the rights and dignity of women, by nurturing their ingenuity as well as creativity, and enhancing the use of enabling technologies, in particular Information and Communication Technology, to empower young women.
On this International Day, Iet us urge commitment to end partiality, greater investments in education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their careers and longer-term professional advancement so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions.