13.08.2014 - ODG

Irina Bokova congratulates Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, first female mathematician to win the Fields Medal

"The Fields Medal awarded to Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, professor at Stanford University (USA), is an important day for mathematics, for women and sciences. It is an immense source of encouragement for all those who intend to pursue a career in sciences or mathematics. It is a call to further recognize the talents of women on equal terms with men at all stages of their journey," declared the Director-General.

"Today women represent less than 30% of scientists in the world. Most often this is due to persistent and unfounded stereotypes. Girls are not being sufficiently encouraged to pursue math and science education in school. They are often prevented from advancing in their careers. Exclusion of girls and women signifies an enormous waste of talent that penalizes us and limits our common intellectual potential. This has a particularly damaging effect on the field of ​​mathematics, which serves as the foundation for many other disciplines and is indispensable in everyday life, from the economy to the running of trains. Everyone should have the same opportunities to market their skills," she added.
UNESCO is committed to supporting scientific cooperation and science education for all as a motor for equality and scientific excellence. The Organization supports exhibitions, workshops and initiatives with a view to cultivate the interest of students, girls and boys alike, in mathematics, and takes part in continuous teacher training in the field of mathematics. Mathematics of Planet Earth Day was held at UNESCO Headquarters in 2013, in partnership with the International Mathematical Union. UNESCO develops activities, particularly in developing countries, to promote education and research in the fields of science and mathematics in the widest sense. UNESCO has published a book that describes The challenges in basic mathematics education, under the leadership of Michèle Artigue (Paris-Diderot University). Moreover, every year the Organization presents the L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.

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