The achievements of women in all areas of science have mainly gone overlooked compared to the achievements of their male counterparts. This situation is a serious obstacle to achieving gender equality, since the underlying reasons for the situation is multi-faceted.
When the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution calling for the commemoration of an International Day of Women and Girls in Science, A/RES/70/212, a clarion call was sounded for another male-dominated domain to recognize the contributions of women not just in the heralded STEM issues – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – but all in fields such as medicine, law, library science, economics and political science.
The mobilization of international actors at every level – and of the concept of “He for She”, where men and boys are willing to support women and girls who dream of contributing to the betterment of society and for achieving the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda and the SDGs.
The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) has firmly established itself in the international community as the regular voice of “Women and Girls in Science.”
Over the past 17 years, and through its programme “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, 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, RASIT celebrates 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.
To promote the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and to further empower women and girls in science particularly in developing countries, RASIT is launching a Global Fund for Women and Girls in Science; and a Women in Science Committee.
- The International Day of Women and Girls in Science will help institutions at all levels, in the context of a multi-stakeholder approach, to review, analyze and enhance different approaches aimed at promoting the work of women in science and of encouraging girls to enter the sciences as a lifetime profession.
- By commemorating the Day at UN Headquarters, capacity building will be generated at the local, national, sub-regional and regional levels.
- Good practices and lessons learned can be promoted with the hope of replication in other areas.
The adoption of this Resolution is important for all of the sectors identified that deal with science: the United Nations, organs of the UN system, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, civil society and the private sector. A better understanding will be reached when we know much our society improves as a whole when women and girls are educated and can contribute profitably to the development of society.
A roadmap will eventually be created to serve as a guide to interested parties.
It is intended that through the commemoration of the 1st International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Heads of State and Heads of Government who are women and are scientists will strengthen their own links to women and girls in their countries and globally.
The universal 2030 Development Agenda cannot be understood without understanding that our civilizational attitudes need to be changed and therefore the idea of girls having role models of women as scientists need to be inclusive role models.
This means that institutions need those at the heads of such institutions must ensure that women and men are paid equally for the same work. In many cases in science, women are torn between family obligations and careers and often their own desire to have families or simply spend time in professional development suffer detrimentally or even in many cases, are completely abandoned. “What if” does not occur in the cases of their male counterparts.
The idea of “He for She”, championed so admirably by former Permanent Representative of Suriname to the UN Henry MacDonald, will never find true completion unless men and institutions change their attitudes in the case of women who practice any of the sciences, whether engineering or economics.
Parity means try equality, and it is one of the purposes of this International Day to ensure that parity becomes reality.
Living up to the United Nations Secretary-General’s guiding principle of “Leaving No-One Behind” necessitates the understanding that demography matters for sustainable development and that population dynamics will shape the key developmental challenges that the world in confronting in the 21st century. If our ambition is to “Build the Future We Want”, we must address Parity in Science for Sustainable Development and accept that Science is for all.
Watch Event on UN Web TV