Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us
International Day of Women and Girls in Science is being observed as UN Day on February 11 and started from 2015. Equal access and participation in science for women and girls are paramount to see overall progress. Several international organisations like UNESCO UN-Women come together and collaborate with institutions to promote women and girls in science. Despite representing half of the world’s population, women continue to be excluded from participating in several domains, including science. To realise SDG policies programs, women have a role to play a role in decision-making at all levels. When the world is grappling to cope with the COVID19 pandemic, global communities need to harness all the available talent. Leaving out women does not make sense. Full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the science and technology communities is more critical than ever.
For too long, discriminatory stereotypes have prevented women and girls from having equal access to education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). On this International Day, I urge commitment to end bias, greater investments in STEM education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their careers and longer-term professional advancement so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions.António Guterres
Despite all the intentions and efforts, the situation is far from satisfactory. UN data indicates that women are typically given smaller research grants than male colleagues. While they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of national science academies are women. In cutting edge fields such as artificial intelligence, only one in five professionals (22%) is a woman. The situation is the same in the private sector as well. A lesser representation of women in company leadership and in technical roles in tech industries is also seen. 28% of engineering graduates are women, and the situation is still inadequate when it comes to advanced and emerging technologies. Women account for about 22%. It is becoming challenging to achieve inclusivity and the inability to find sustainable solutions to the societies’ problems. It is unbelievable that 52 countries worldwide are yet to guarantee equality to women in their constitutions.
We must put the principle of equality into action so that science works for Women, because it works against them all too often – for example, when algorithms perpetuate the biases of their programmers.Audrey Azoulay, Director-General – UNESCO
and Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women
India has seen several women researchers excelling in science and technology domains. Vanitha and Ritu Karidhdal were the two women behind the Chandrayaan 2. Dr Indira Hinduja, the first Indian woman, is credited for delivering a test tube baby in 1986. The success of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at Biocon, the oceanographer Dr Aditi Pant, the first Indian woman to visit the icy continent Antarctic. The inventor of Sumeet mixer Madhuri Mathur.
The critical role women researchers played in handling the COVID-19 pandemic is a demonstration of the ability and commitment of women, be it in understanding the virus, developing methods for testing, and creating the vaccine for protection.
Empowering women results in enhanced productivity and growth. Efforts must be continually be made to end the various forms of gender violence. Science lays the foundation to achieve sustainable development in any society, and equality should be core value. Equality is non-negotiable. We need science, and science needs women. It is an unfinished business of our time.
ToonLogs posted on the same theme earlier can be accessed at :