UNESCO and UN Women have chosen the theme of “Closing the gender gap in science” for this year’s International Day. The Secretary-General has emphasized the need to address the systemic barriers and biases that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in science, including limited access to education, underrepresentation in publications, and unequal funding opportunities.
To promote gender equality in science, the Secretary-General believes it is essential to overcome gender stereotypes, encourage role models for girls to pursue scientific careers, develop programs to advance women in science, and create work environments that nurture women’s talents, particularly those from minority groups. He concluded by stating that women and girls belong in science and it is time to recognize that inclusion fosters innovation.
The Call for Action by UNESCO provides recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of gender-based inequalities in science. This aligns with SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality, which aims to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, eliminate harmful practices such as early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, and provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health care. Globally, almost half of all married women currently lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights.