Enhance policies and programmes to support women and girls’ fundamental roles in science:

Statement on the international day of women and girls in science.

Globally, we acknowledge the critical contribution of women and girls in science. The United Nations theme for 2021 is “Women scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.” While we celebrate the achievements of women and girls, it is important to give attention to the persistent inequalities that exclude women from equal access to science education and participation in the professional field. The UN statement notes, “the COVID-19 pandemic also had a significant negative impact on women scientists, particularly affecting those at early stages of their career, and thus contributing to widening the existing gender gap in science, and revealing the gender disparities in the scientific system, which need to be addressed by new policies, initiatives and mechanisms to support women and girls in science.” 

UNESCO data suggests that around 30% of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. The regions with the highest number of female scientists were Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet, the global data on female student enrolment in ICT studies, mathematics, statistics, and engineering are deplorably low and expose wide disparities between female students and their male counterparts in the field. 

The field of science is critical to advancing practical and innovative responses to social and economic problems throughout the world. Gender equality in the field of science is vital and promotes gender-equal responses and innovations. We call on governments and development planners to support COVID-19 social and economic recovery with sustainable commitments to engendering the responses to education and the labour market.