In commemorating the 3rd International Day of Women and Girls in Science, under the lead of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) and the Government of the Republic of Malta, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Hungary and Vietnam to the United Nations are organizing a two-day forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 – 9 February 2018, focusing firmly on “Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development” with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Representations of Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Cyprus, Georgia, Paraguay, Portugal, Rwanda, San Marino and Thailand to the United Nations; as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Despite some progress in recent years, achieving equality and parity in science remains an important challenge for policy-makers and the scientific community at large. This commemoration will examine the need for policy changes at all levels, to address the gender imbalance that exists in scientific fields, as well as in other areas including technology, engineering, mathematics and cutting-edge innovative technologies.

The role that women in science can play at all levels has become a priority on the science agendas of many national and international political institutions. Although the number of female science graduates has increased, true equality and parity in science has not yet been achieved. 

Over the past 25 years, the United Nations and its agencies have realized the gender-gap in science; however, the advancement of women and girls in science has not only stalled, but the international community is seeing a recidivist slide backwards.

The question to be asked is “Why?” Why have there been so few female scientists chosen to speak at high-level events, or selected to take part in international decision-making bodies, or to deal with policy formulation? 

In striving towards equality, peace and prosperity and towards universal sustainable development, we must recognize the role of women in science in achieving implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda. 

The role of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development in suggesting policy recommendations to Heads of State and Government, as well as to parliamentarians, will be highlighted, the significant role of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as the responsible UN entity serving as the Secretariat for the Commission, will be highlighted, and similar to neglected areas of science and the official UN bodies that deal with them will be presented. The role of the scientific diaspora will also be discussed.

The 2018 International Day of Women and Girls in Science Forum (IDWGS-2018) aims to mobilize women in science (life / applied or social sciences) expertise from a wide range of disciplines that can contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. It will explore innovative ways to measure and assess data produced by International Organizations. The Forum will also provide a unique opportunity for policy-makers and women in science experts to propose International Framework and Action Plan for Equality and Parity in Science. 

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 equality and parity in science for sustainable development 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 Forum Planning Committee has made every effort to ensure that perspectives from north/south, gender, youth, older persons, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, global geographic areas, expert constituencies, and international networks are included.  


The Forum will be organized around the following themes:

Priority Theme: Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development”

  • Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Understanding Equality and Parity in Science through capacity building, cooperation and data governance (gap in statistics, data to address policy concern, stakeholder coordination, data sharing/exchange, etc.)
  • Women in Science in Peacekeeping

Emerging issue:

  • Promoting Integrated Policies for Equality and Parity in Science for Achieving Implementation of the 2030 Agenda through a “One UN” lens.
  • 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 equality and parity in science, technology and innovation. 


2018 Program Agenda



Watch Event on UN Web TV

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4       Part 5



Endorsed Outcome Document


2018 Girls in Science Panel Synthesis Report