Women and Girls in Science

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Science and gender equality are both vital for sustainable development. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science: less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.

Tackling some of the greatest challenges of the Agenda for Sustainable Development -- from improving health to combatting climate change -- will rely on harnessing all talent. That means getting more women working in these fields. Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing in fresh perspectives, talent and creativity.

Gender equality should be considered as a crucial means to promote scientific and technological excellence. In fact, the untapped potential of brilliant girls and women who might be interested in STEM but choose not to pursue degrees or careers in these fields because of the various obstacles they may face, represents an important lost opportunity, both for women themselves as well as for the society as a whole.

UNESCO is committed to promoting gender equality in and through education systems from early childhood to higher education, in formal, non-formal and informal settings and in all intervention areas from planning infrastructure to training teachers.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science


The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated each year on 11 February, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science.

It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22 December 2015 through Resolution A/RES/70/212 to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This Day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

Over the next 15 years, scientific research will play a key role in monitoring relevant trends in such areas as food security, health, water and sanitation, energy, the management of ocean and terrestrial ecosystems and climate change. Women will play an essential role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, by helping to identify global problems and find solutions.

Despite the remarkable gains that women have made in education and the workforce over the past decades, progress has been uneven. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), only 28% of the world’s researchers are women. Women are still underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), both at graduate and research levels. Even in those scientific fields where women are present, they are underrepresented in policy-making and programming.



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