The International Day of Friendship is celebrated on July 30th of each year to foster peace, sustainability and respect among peers and countries. Friendships are a shared delight among all citizens, and its commemoration reminds us to treasure what we value.

It is such an important day because friendship plays a major role in achieving success in everyday life, even in achieving the SDGst and in our Girls in Science 4 SDGs platform.

Personally, my peers have always been one of my biggest sources of support. During finals week or days when I’m down, they never fail to bring a smile to my face. Friends always bring positivity and joy!

Especially in science, where women have consistently been a minority academically, friends’ support is crucial. There are many times where working in a predominantly male field can be intimidating, but with the help and support of our peers, we won’t let this hinder us from pursuing what we love. When I went to my first STEM camp in elementary school, I was overly excited to go, but the first thing I noticed was that my class consisted of 20 boys and only one other girl besides me. As a 5th grader, I felt hesitant in actively participating within the group because I felt like the “odd one out.” However, having a classmate to confide in and support me really encouraged me to not only excel in the class, but continue pursuing my passion in the field.

One major value of friendship is the “we” mentality rather than the “I” mentality. Working together to solve issues not only divides the workload equally, but builds teamwork and collaboration, where each individual’s skill set can uniquely contribute to the project. Even in corporations, collaboration between board members is crucial to receive varying opinions from different viewpoints and experiences. Each person’s experiences and hardships differ greatly, and with a diverse background, the major issues and best ideas can be identified. The collection of different thoughts creates an invaluable and quality result.

Sustainable Development Goal 17, “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development,” revolves around the idea of friendship and collaboration. It is only through partnership of different countries, minds and ideas that we will be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. Each country has a different environment and is at a different proximity to reaching the goals, which is why it is crucial to include all opinions and solutions to find the best collective approach to achieving the goals.

I find the collaboration and friendship within the Girls in Science 4 SDGs platform as one of its most unique and important aspects. Each girl comes from completely different statuses, backgrounds and environments, and it’s incredible to see how diverse the entire team is. One moment that particularly stood out to me was when Anya, in a discussion about the importance of valuing teachers, gave her own experience: she shared one science teacher among three schools, and she hadn’t seen her teacher the entire school year, save the notes they left on the table. I live in an area that emphasizes STEM and science, so hearing her experience and comprehending the immense difference was shocking to me.

For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science: four years ago, the day did not exist. It was only with the collaboration of the Republic of Malta, RASIT and other UN agencies that the day became an internationally recognized and commemorated holiday, where we could celebrate women and girls alike who are changing the world.

Today holds a special meaning in my heart, and I hope ultimately yours as well. There is so much value in each and every relationship and bond. In celebrating the International Day of Friendship, we’re celebrating family, mentors, peers… and you!

Author

Megan is a gender-tech activist immensely passionate about bridging the gender gap in technology, fostering underserved girls’ interests in tech through her organization, GEARup4Youth (GEARup4Youth.org).

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