On December 22, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/70/212 that declared February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. 2021 marks the sixth year the resolution has been in force, addressing the theme ‘Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19’. Keeping social distancing protocols in mind, the event will be held at the United Nations Headquarters via video conferencing, and will focus on the women who were the front runners during the world's fight against COVID-19.
If that’s not all, another important aspect of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be addressing gender equality and science.
Meanwhile, did you know that according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data (2014-2016), less than 30 per cent of researchers in the world, are women? Why do you think that is? The dynamics that influence a woman’s decisions to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) range from their education, social construct, work environment and opportunities, and priorities often dictated by their family or society—such as getting married and starting a family. To truly reduce this gender disparity, we must go beyond just hard facts and statistics, and breach those qualitative factors that dissuade women from pursuing careers in STEM.
Moreover, numerous studies have found that women in STEM are often published less, paid less for their research, and do not progress as much as their male peers. Due to gender biases and lack of representation, women are often unable to steer their way in the science and technology sector. A 2015 study titled Gender Bias Without Borders conducted by the Geena Davis Institute, indicated that of all the characters with an identifiable STEM job portrayed on the big screen, only 12 per cent were women.
Hence, it’s vital to address these issues and actively take steps to promote the participation of women as a means to boost their involvement in the field of STEM, and eradicate prevalent biases that envelop the industry.
*Image for representational purposes only