The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on 11 February every year due to the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212, with the 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. 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. According to UNESCO’s forthcoming Science Report, only 33 percent of researchers are women, despite the fact that they represent 45 and 55 percent of students at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels of study respectively, and 44 per cent of those enrolled in PhD programmes.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on women scientists, particularly affecting those at the early stages of their career, and thus contributing to widening the existing gender gap in science, and revealing the gender disparities in the scientific system, which need to be addressed by new policies, initiatives and mechanisms to support women and girls in science. This year’s theme is “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19” and will gather together experts working in fields related to the pandemic from different parts of the world.
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.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), 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 member organisations to undertake necessary reforming actions in order to give young women the equal rights to economic resources, 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.
Join us in celebrating women and girls, who are leading innovation and call for actions to remove all barriers that hold them back, let us acknowledge and applaud #WomenInScience!