Women and Girls Improve Outcomes, Bring Fresh Perspectives to Science, Technology, Secretary-General Says in Observance Message, Urging Action to End Gender Bias

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, observed on 11 February:

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we highlight a simple equation:  more women and girls in science equals better science.  Women and girls bring diversity to research, expand the pool of science professionals, and provide fresh perspectives to science and technology, benefiting everyone.

There is growing evidence that gender bias in science is leading to worse outcomes, from drug tests that treat the female body as an aberration, to search algorithms that perpetuate bias and discrimination.  Yet, in too many places around the world, women and girls’ access to education is limited or denied completely.  As women look to progress in scientific careers, inequalities and discrimination continue to thwart their potential.

Women make up under a third of the workforce across science, technology, engineering and math, and even less in cutting-edge fields.  Just 1 in 5 professionals working on artificial intelligence is a woman.

We must — and we can — do more to promote women and girl scientists:  Through scholarships, internships and training programmes that provide a platform to succeed.  Through quotas, retention incentives and mentorship programmes that help women overcome entrenched hurdles and build a career.  And crucially, by affirming women’s rights and breaking down stereotypes, biases and structural barriers.

We can all do our part to unleash our world’s enormous untapped talent — starting with filling classrooms, laboratories and boardrooms with women scientists.

For information media. Not an official record.