Panafrican News Agency

Gender bias in science ‘deprives our world of great talent’: Guterres

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General António Guterres  has stressed that gender equality in science is essential to building a better future for all.

"Sadly, women and girls continue to face systemic barriers and biases that prevent them from pursuing careers in science," he noted.

This was the messag of the UN chief on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girld in Science, which fell on Sunday, 11 February.

Today, women make up only a third of the global scientific community and, compared to men, they get less funding, are underrepresented in publications and hold fewer senior positions in major universities, Mr Guterres noted.

In some places, women and girls have limited or no access to education, he said, describing this situation as not only harmful to the societies concerned, but also a terrible violation of human rights.

The Secretary-General believes that it is essential that women and girls participate equally in scientific discoveries and innovations, whether in the field of climate change, health or artificial intelligence". "This is the only way to ensure that science benefits everyone," he said.

"Addressing gender inequalities requires overcoming gender stereotypes and promoting role models that encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, developing programmes that encourage the advancement of women in science, and creating work environments that nurture women's talents. especially those of women from minority groups," he added.

"Women and girls belong in science. It is time to recognise that inclusion fosters innovation, and let every woman and girl fulfil her true potential," the UN chief concluded.

The theme chosen for this year’s International Day by  UNESCO and UN Women, the two UN agencies leading on the celebrations, is: “Closing the gender gap in science.” UNESCO's Call for Action provides recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of gender-based inequalities in science.

SDG Goal 5 on Gender Equality states:

  • End all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls
  • Eliminate such harmful practices as early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation
  • Adapt and strengthen legislation to promote gender equality and empower women and girls
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care

Mr. Guterres said globally, almost half of all married women currently lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

-0- PANA MA 12Feb2024