Over the past 25 years, the United Nations (UN) has drawn the attention of the international community to the serious gender gap that affects science such that it has become a priority of many countries and international political institutions. Yet, the advancement of women and girls in science has not only stalled, but has started regressing with a widening of the gender gap in science. Reversing this trend and recognizing the rightful role of women in science both as change agents and recipients of support in science will be indispensable in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all our countries.
Based on research for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, women are underrepresented throughout the innovation pipeline. Women earn 57 percent of all college degrees, but only 35 percent of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. As such, females represent only 22 percent of the STEM workforce and just 16 percent of patent holders. Yet, nothing matters more for progress, strong sustainable economies and quality living standards than innovation.
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. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, for the first time governments, businesses and civil societies are aligned in what the problems are and in committing resources to co-creating attractive markets to address them. Some women, with their deep understanding of the needs and problems of the underserved, are uniquely positioned to help solve them through innovation with purpose. To do so, these women must acquire the problem solving skills usually developed in the scientific disciplines or have access to STEM resources. They will also need productive assets like financial capital, and networks to capitalize on their knowledge and create enterprises to generate wealth.
Female talent pipeline for high-growth sectors and geographies should be the main investment target to attain the most effective returns that help achieve the SDGs. The United Nations and World Bank have proven that investing in women is smart economics and can help accelerate sustainable development since women more than men reinvest their earning in their families and communities. They also tend to create business and innovate with purpose.
In addition, interventions, policy tools and focused programs are needed to shift both public and private sectors’ priorities, investments, perceptions on women’s and girls’ place in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Practical measures that directly respond to barriers that hinder women’s and girls’ success must be instituted. Best practices and innovative solutions are highly welcomed.
Organisers and Co-Sponsors
The Fourth International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly is organized by the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) in close collaboration with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of the Slovak Republic, Portugal, Bangladesh and Hungary, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); with the co-sponsorship of: International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), The African Union, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of: Cyprus, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Poland, San Marino, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Philippines, Tonga, Viet Nam, Uruguay and Zambia, as well as the Ministry of European Affairs and Equality of the Republic of Malta.
The Fourth International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly is focusing firmly on:
“Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”
The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) welcomes experts and leaders to share their best practices, strategies and applied solutions which address the challenges and provide opportunities under the following domains:
- Review of United Nations Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies, UNCTAD and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and other international organizations’ plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of Science, Technology and Innovation.
- Understanding Investment in women and girls in science for inclusive green growth through capacity building, provision of funds, cooperation and data governance.
- Promoting integrated policies for investment in inclusive science for achieving implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda, e.g. renewable energies, oceans, and sustainable agriculture.
- Framework providing women equal access to economic opportunities so they can earn at least 30% of the wealth-created implementing Agenda 2030 which will bring balance to decision making and power with purpose, creativity, and compassion.
- Specific topics and applications could include inter alia (i) evaluation of the economic and social impact of Women in Science in Sustainable Development Programmes, (ii) measurement of SDGs indicators related to investment, equality and parity in science, technology and innovation.