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#February11
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, we are in uncharted waters that offer
unprecedented opportunities for wealth creation to those who can help solve the
world’s biggest challenges.  It is the first time in history that governments,
businesses and civil societies across the globe are aligned in what the
problems are and in committing resources and so creating attractive markets to
address them.  Integral investing provides an inclusive and sustainable model
for investing in our future.  Women, with their deep understanding of the unmet
needs and problems of the poorest, are uniquely positioned to help solve them.  
Women organizations like Ellevate Network, Global Summit of Women,
International Federation of Business, Professional Women, Vital Voices,
WEConnect and Womensphere, are just a few of the many successfully helping
women around the world retool themselves and access economic
opportunities.  However, despite their progress, most women still cannot
access enough STEM skills, productive assets like financial capital, and
networks to capitalize on their knowledge and build wealth.  

Based on research for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute, women
are underrepresented throughout the innovation pipeline.  Women earn 57
percent of all college degrees, but only 35 percent of STEM degrees.  As such,
females represent only 22 percent of the STEM workforce and just 16 percent of
patent holders.  Nothing matters more for progress, strong sustainable
economies and quality living standards than innovation.  According to the
Equality of Opportunity Project, tapping into the currently underused potential
capacity of females and other minorities can unlock more innovation than tax
cuts. To grow the number of inventions, increase the supply of inventors by
removing the barriers that keep members of underrepresented groups from
becoming innovators.

To develop the necessary skills that will be in demand in the economy of
tomorrow, STEM training must be made a priority for all females around the
world.  STEM strengthens critical-thinking skills, fosters collaboration and
prioritizes problem-based learning, which drives innovation, the fuel for
economic success. In CapGemini‘s World Wealth Report, the more than 16
million high net-worth individuals across the globe—defined as those with
assets of at least $1 million--- created their wealth in finance, technology,
healthcare, manufacturing and real estate. In contrast, according to the World
Bank, females who are included in the formal labor force tend to pursue work in
public administration, education and social work.

Emerging technologies can help women accelerate the development of STEM
skills in several ways: upgrade skills, provide access to needed resources and
connect them to each other.  The Internet and other advances in information,
communication and technology (ICT) are enabling women to progress faster
than ever before. In India, the Hand in Hand Partnership (HIHP) provides
women with mobile devices so they can launch their own tech-driven
businesses by also providing them training and technology support.  India’s
Self-Employed Women’s Association uses SMS to send their agricultural
colleagues commodity prices so they can determine the best places to sell their
produce. Innovations like M-Pesa in Kenya, which enables mobile phone-based
money transfers and was initially created to serve the disadvantaged with
microfinance, unexpectedly morphed to inspire the creation of online wallets
and peer-to-peer lending applications now prevalent in developed markets.
Blockchain, another promising technology, offers to revolutionize transactions
and enables data transparency making it easier to fight inequality and
corruption.  So that females of all ages are well positioned to generate wealth
from their innovations, we must prepare them in the industries most likely to
create scalable innovative solutions in renewable energy, aerospace and air
transportation, agriculture and mining, education, ICT infrastructure, in addition
to the traditional lucrative sectors of real estate and construction, manufacturing,
healthcare, technology and financial services.

Women in high-growth geographies where STEM solutions are in high need
should be the main target so we can their magnify wealth-creating
opportunities. While the problems addressed by the SDGs exist all over the
world, developing countries with booming populations have significantly greater
needs for SDG solutions; thus STEM businesses could have greater impacts
and deliver higher returns on investment. By 2025, 97% of worldwide population
growth will occur in the developing countries, many of which are in Africa.  The
energy needs of Africans are exponentially rising but the cost to people, planet
and profits of building traditionally centralized power plants using carbon
emitting fuels are too great compared to embracing new distributed renewable
energy sources like solar, wind, water and biomass. Emerging markets with no
legacy systems and infrastructure can leapfrog the developed countries by
adopting new best in class technologies like blockchain and Internet-of-Things
enabled microgrids and water purification systems, accelerating the adoption of
solutions that raise the quality of life for the disadvantaged.  Smartphone apps,
for example, have empowered rural users to better manage their health.  Apps
such as MedAfrica or iTriage enable remote healthcare.  Apps with miniature
technologies can monitor heart conditions, diabetes, and water quality as well
as perform ultrasounds.  Solutions developed for the poorest in emerging
economies, the pro-poor bottom up innovations can also be translated into
profitable innovations for richer populations.
Introduction
Commemorating the 4th International Day of Women and Girls in Science,
under the lead of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), United Nations Institute for Training
and Research (UNITAR), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the
International Labour Organization (ILO), are organizing a two-day forum at the
United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 – 12 February 2019, focusing
firmly on “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green
Growth”.  

The 2019 International Day of Women and Girls in Science Forum (IDWGS-
2019) aims to mobilize and connect the diverse funders and investors of the
innovation pipeline and science with women in science (life / applied or social
sciences). These include aid agencies, financial institutions, philanthropies,
alliances in support of women entrepreneurs and women with expertise from a
wide range of disciplines that can contribute to achieving the sustainable
development goals.

The Forum will provide a first of its kind opportunity for policy-makers and
women in science experts to propose an International Framework and Action
Plan for Investment in Science for Inclusive Green Growth.  Interventions are
required at a number of stages and with policy tools as well as focused
programmes to shift priorities, investments, perceptions on women’s and girls’
place in STI, and institute practical measures that directly respond to barriers
that hinder women’s and girls’ success. The Forum will explore innovative ways
to ensure coherence among the thousands of initiatives that are mushrooming
to ensure scale and value added.

The purpose of this Forum is to harness the strategies, expertise and
resources across the broadest spectrum of policy-makers, professionals, civil
society and the private sector to move investment in women and girls in science
for inclusive green growth into the mainstream discourse, and to identify
implementation gaps and co-create action plans. It is anticipated that this will
spark sustained public demand for lasting political action in support of an
ambitious outcome from the 2030 Development Agenda process and other
declarations and Outcome Documents of other UN fora.
The Event
The Organizing Committee welcomes Women and Men Experts and leaders to
share their best practices, strategies and applied solutions which address the
challenges and provide opportunities under the following domains or themes:
  • Review of relevant United Nations and other international organizations’
    plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of Science,
    Technology and Innovation and STEM
  • Understanding Investment in women in science for inclusive green
    growth through capacity building, cooperation and data governance (gap
    in statistics, data to address policy concern, stakeholder coordination,
    data sharing/ exchange, etc.)
  • Promoting Integrated Policies for Investment in Inclusive Science for
    Achieving Implementation of the 2030 Agenda through a “One UN” lens.
  • Framework that aims to ensure women capture at least 30% of the world’
    s resources to be created through implementation of Agenda 2030 to
    bring balance to decision making and power with purpose, creativity, and
    compassion.
  • Specific topics and applications could include inter alia (i) global,
    regional or national status of women in science, (ii) evaluation of the
    economic and social impact of Women in Science in Sustainable
    Development Programmes and in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of
    the High-level Political Forum, (iii) measurement of SDG indicators
    related to investment, equality and parity in science, technology and
    innovation.

The focus of this Forum is on high quality presentations, discussions with
thought leaders, and debates with peers on practical approaches that address
current challenges and emerging issues.
Themes
“Investment in Women & Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”
11 - 12 February 2019
United Nations Headquarters - New York City

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