In a message for the day, UNESCO and UN Women Secretary-General highlighted the systemic barriers and biases preventing women and girls from pursuing careers in science. He pointed out that women only make up a third of the global scientific community, 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 emphasized that it is crucial to have women and girls participate equally in scientific discoveries and innovations. He stressed that addressing gender inequalities requires overcoming gender stereotypes, promoting role models to encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, developing programs to advance women in science, and creating work environments that nurture women’s talents, especially those from minority groups. He concluded by stating that women and girls belong in science and it is time to recognize that inclusion fosters innovation.
This year’s International Day theme chosen by UNESCO and UN Women is “Closing the Gender Gap in Science.” UNESCO’s 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