On December 22nd 2015, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution demonstrates the commitment of Member
States to achieving gender equality for women in science which remains a major challenge. Inequality hinders the capacity of nations to unlock the full
transformative contribution which women in science can make to our world.
The dream was an idea that originated at the Inaugural World Women's Health and Development Forum in February of 2015. The idea of the Forum was
developed and brought to fruition by Her Royal Highness, Princess Dr. Nisreen El Hashemite, Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science
“Allow me to congratulate you on the creation of this Forum designed to address the links between women’s health and sustainable
development. From the Overview of the programme, with its focus on health economics, health disparities and health systems and
innovation, the event promises to yield useful outcomes as a contribution to the discussions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.
H.E. Mr. Sam K. Kutesa, President of 69th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations
“The World Women’s Health and Development Forum brought together an amazing group of global policy makers and practitioners and
inspired the International Community to make a difference for humanity”.
Dr. Amir Dossal, the Founder Chairman of the Global Partnerships Forum
Most of the distinguished guests and speakers at the Inaugural Forum, whether at ministerial, intergovernmental, diplomatic, academic or professional
levels, were Women in Science.
The Outcome Declaration of the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum, which the participants contributed to and approved by
acclamation, reflects an ambitious global action agenda and as a Road Map for women’s health and development.
Enabling us to discuss the many existing problems, issues facing women and societies today, and then to determine the indispensable solutions,
actions, policies and programs to overcome these problems and issues, we need to recognize the role of Women in Science in the sustainable
development process. Such recognition should be through acknowledging the accomplishments and the achievements of Women in Science.
The participants clearly indicated in the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration, the need to ensure sustainability of
development for women and all humankind, to achieve equality and full participation for Women in Science in decision making and sustainable
development programs, and to build political, international and scientific support for the improvement of Women in Science education, employment/right
livelihoods and provision of services such as nursery at work.
· It is not acceptable that in many countries including USA and UK, women in science are paid less than their male colleagues;
· It is not acceptable that girls do not have the equal quality of science education in many regions around the world;
· It is not acceptable that women in science are not well represented in policy-making process including in Intergovernmental
This is not the future we want!
In terms of women and girls in science, it is valuable to note that a thorough search through google reveals that women have literally played a role with
men through 4,000 years of recorded history in terms of science.
Nonetheless, even though the accomplishments of women rank with those of their male counterparts, only 46 women have won Nobel Prizes, and if one
eliminates those who have won for literature and who have been Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, the actual number is barely 25.
There have been many women scientists in all fields, and many have worked during humanitarian emergencies or made contributions in the field of
nursing, botanists, physicists, mathematicians, economists, very often relegated to footnotes in history.
RASIT strongly believes that the SDGs to a great degree need a strong science base, and this cannot be achieved at any level unless girls and women
have an incentive, such as recognition and the example of role models, to have in front of them.
In implementing one of the points of the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration. RASIT’s Executive Director wrote a letter
on April 30th 2015 to H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, requesting
“on behalf of all participants at the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum, the Women in Science International
League and the Associations of Women in Science worldwide, I would like to ask you kindly to take the necessary steps to adopt the
Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration in general and the call of all participants: governments,
intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academic institutions, professionals, youth and non-governmental organizations, and
declare February 11th an International Day for Women in Science”.
As soon as Her Royal Highness communicated to President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa concerning next steps in creating the foundation for
the proposed International Day of Women in Science, RASIT sought the further counsel of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, who
provided suggestions for consideration of a proper orientation for a way forward.
Upon crafting language for a proposed draft resolution prepared by RASIT for consideration by Member States, "placeholder language" needed to be
developed since the SDG Summit had not yet been held. Member States eventually crafted the "horizontal language" that would be the language used to
refer to the SDG Summit and to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Therefore, the original draft resolution for consideration eventually by Member States included references to the consensus declaration adopted by Heads
of State and Government at Rio +20, "The Future We Want."
Important to the draft was the inclusivity of all stakeholders, emphasizing the social dimension of sustainable development and the overarching importance
of equality, especially for the most marginalized.
RASIT Executive Director Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite contacted the Hon. Minister Dr. Helena Dalli, Minister of Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs
and Civil Liberties of the Republic of Malta. During the Forum, the Minister and her Royal Highness agreed that RASIT had great expertise in the issue of
women in science, and therefore, a draft concept note and the form of the draft was presented to the Permanent Mission of Malta for its consideration. The
informal consultations among Second Committee Experts was to be conducted by the Delegation of Malta and commence at some time after the SDG
The Permanent Mission of Malta introduce the draft resolution in the Second Committee under Agenda Item 22(b), Globalization and interdependence:
science and technology for development.
During October and early November, the Delegation of Malta met with Member State delegates for the purpose of perfecting the draft resolution create an
annual commemoration to be inscribed on the official UN Calendar of Observances for an International Day for Women in Science.
From the time of the first consultation, RASIT was doing work to obtain pledges from around the world that demonstrated support for the draft resolution,
and within 32 days, RASIT received almost 4 million pledges electronically from around the world.
RASIT's interpretation of the word "science" was in its broadest context, ranging from economics and library science to law and biological sciences.
Member States also broadened the idea of the Day, including girls in the title of the proposed Day and within the text of the draft resolution.
As consultations proceeded, a number of Member States decided to join the list of co-sponsors, with eventually 65 Member States supporting the final
On Friday, 4 December, a dream became a reality, when the Second Committee adopted without a vote a draft resolution, A/C.2/70/L.4/Rev.1, proclaiming
annually on 11 February a commemoration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The next stop for the now-adopted Resolution would be the UN General Assembly, where the entire formal Membership of the United Nations would take
note of the Resolution.
On 22 December 2015, the President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Mogens Lyketoft of Denmark, asked Member States if they
would adopt this Resolution. When the President of the General Assembly heard no objection, the Resolution now would receive its own document
number, A/RES/70/212 and would appear in the Annals of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Affectionately referred to worldwide as "The Science Princess", Her Royal Highness Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, because of her status as a
renowned medical doctor and scientist herself, was able to bring together government Ministers from 12 countries and a wide range of women in sciences
of all kinds to aid in the creation of this Day.
RASIT commends the Delegation of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Malta and the Government of Malta for their tireless efforts and work in the
crafting of the draft resolution and for the leading of the consultations. Also, thanks to all delegations for the flexibility and constructive spirit with which
they reacted to the consultations leading to this important outcome.
For more than 17 years, and through its program the Women in Science International League, RASIT is working closely with the United Nations system,
as well as with other Intergovernmental Organizations, Governments, and Civil Society and advocating on the need to ensure equality and full participation
for Women in Science in decision making and sustainable development programs; and access to comprehensive, high-quality education, equal
employment opportunities and promotion, with a clear consideration for the different needs of different societies and cultures. Further, this year RASIT
celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Women in Science International Award, The First International Award to acknowledge and recognize Women
Innovation, Excellence, Intelligence, and Success, and to honor women as Leaders. In addition to helping many universities worldwide to establish women
in science society and funds, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the first directory of women in science, which helped in creating scholarships, jobs,
mentoring and collaboration. Last but not least, RASIT managed to attract the attention of member states to adopt a historical resolution for International
Day of Women and Girls in Science.
THE RESOLUTION's STORY
Día Internacional de la Mujer y la Niña en la Ciencia
Международный день женщин и девочек в науке
Journée Internationale des Femmes et des Filles de Science
|International Day of
Women and Girls in Science
اليوم الدولي للمرأة والفتاة في ميدان العلوم