Women and Girls in Science: Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development

Girls in Science

In commemoration of the third international day of Women and Girls in Science, organizations in the United Nations held a forum regarding equality and parity in science for peace and development.

The forum began with testimonies from girls who had faced gender-specific hardships. Many speakers alluded to historical female figures that encouraged them to persevere against suppression. Two men also spoke, sharing stories of interactions with females in school and work, complimenting them for their intellect and uniqueness.

Mr. Seth introduced the second half of the forum, claiming that more important than the awareness was the identification of specific solutions to the gender-based issues that women are facing. Mr. Seth also stated that science offers great potential for the completion of the SDGs, but will offer even more potential with the inclusion of women.

Ms. Luo alluded to her homeland, Zambia, and the factors that inhibit women from securing an education, including: child marriages, socialization, stereotyping and colonial curriculum. Ms. Luo called for less talk and more action, as well as bringing this movement on an international scale.

Mr. Le Feuvre presented a brief overview of research that WIPO conducted to highlight the gender status of women in STEM. The data demonstrated an increase of international women patent applications, while only 30% of international patents are shared with women. The data also compared shared patents with women between specific fields of technology, pinpointing pharmaceutics to be the highest and construction engineering to be the lowest.

Several other women spoke regarding gender disparity, including a female researcher at Mount Sinai who was robbed of her research by a male supervisor and struggled to retrieve it—an example of what female scientists endure. 

Meeting: Forum on —”Women and Girls in Science: Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development

Date/Location: Thursday, February 8, 2018; 10:00-13:00; ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director of UNITAR; Nkandu Luo, Minister of Higher Education of Zambia; Bruno Le Freuvre, WIPO Statistical Analyst

Written By: WIT Representative Timothy Stephens

Women and Girls in STEM

 

math-girl

 

Wednesday, the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) held a meeting concerning the advancement of women in science and the effects that media has on stereotypes in STEM. H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez stated that the SDGs are founded on science, technology, and innovation. He emphasized that gender equality is vital to their success. He related the International Day for Women and Girls in Science to SDGs 4 and 5 and stressed that setting up a commission for gender equality ensures future progress in sustainable development. He then explained that Malta would hold a conference in February focusing on science, gender equality, and sustainable development with an emphasis on the effects of the media. Ms. Rola Dahlan followed by adding that the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, if implemented properly, will lay ground for gender equality and women’s empowerment in science and technology. She stated that organizations can help by aligning their strategic direction to achieve full participation in science and access to high quality education.

Ms. Marie Roudil expressed that women account for only about 30% of researchers across the world, with the gender gap widening at higher levels of decision-making. She added that access to clean drinking water is necessary for dealing with climate change in a world with a constantly rising population. Mr. Maher Nasser explained that when young girls are put in an environment where stereotypes dominate, they do not perform as well as boys in STEM. However, when those stereotypes are not reinforced, girls perform just as well as boys. Mr. Navid Hanif concluded the meeting and expressed that the participation of women and girls in STEM varies dramatically by region. It should be noted that the terms “STEM” and “science” were used interchangeably throughout the meeting.

Meeting: Briefing on the “International Day for Women and Girls in Science” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT))

 Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 16 November 2016; 10:00 to 11:00; Conference Room 11

 Speakers: H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations; Ms. Rola Dahlan, Secretary-General of Women in Science International League; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Special Representative and Director of UNESCO Liaison Office; Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach, UN DPI; Mr. Navid Hanif, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UN DESA; Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, UN DESA

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Closing the Digital Gender Gap

The final side event of the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women hosted a panel discussion on closing the digital gender gap. Ms. Riazi began the presentations by sharing her personal story about pursuing a career in STEM. She highlighted the issue of girls’ hesitations to join the field of technology, despite being avid users of it. Later, she cited multiple statistics on the value of having women in the workforce, particularly in technology. According to her, achieving an end to digital divide between men and women could add up to $12 trillion in economic growth.

Next, Mr. Garcia emphasized that better steps have to be taken to obtain clear data on Internet users and digital literacy. Effective data can lead to stronger public policies. Following, Mr. Musharakh shared what his country, the United Arab Emirates, has done to close the digital gender gap. Fifty-seven percent of women in UAE universities pursue STEM. They are encouraged to not only be users of technology, but also become content creators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Although UAE has been successful, Mr. Musharakh admitted that there is still much more to be done globally.

Ms. Lindsey introduced her Connected Women initiative, which will increase the proportion of women in the customer base by 2020. She also stated that women are willing to use up to 10% of their income on mobile ownership because it is a tool of empowerment. Finally, Ms. Ball wrapped up presentations by pointing out that mothers with access to technology would benefit their children and family.

Meeting: Technology Empowering Women: Closing the Digital Gender Gap to Achieve Agenda 2030

Date/Location: Thursday, 24 March 2016; Ex-Press Bar; UN Headquarters; NYC

Speakers: Gary Fowlie, Head of ITU Liaison Office to the UN (moderator); Atefeh Riazi, Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Information Technology Officer, UN Office of Information and Communications; Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN; Jamal Al Musharakh, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN; Dominica Lindsey, Senior Manager of Research Strategy & Evaluations GSMA Connected Living; Andrea Ball, Executive Director of American Mothers

Written By: WIT Representative Julianne Jeon

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Centro de Investigacion Para La Accion Feminina

The Introduction of Planet 50-50

womens_rights

Today, Ms. Falk introduced the agenda for the event concerning making gender equality a reality by 2030, as well as, Ms. Amor, who sang “I Am a Girl.” Then, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke of the need to end harmful practices against women, which was reinforced by H.E. Mr. Lykketoft and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, who added that concrete steps aiming at further integrating women in politics and in the workforce need to be explored. H.E. Mr. Patriota stressed that CSW needs to work harder to implement gender equality as no country has yet achieved it.  H.E. Ms. Nusseibeh mentioned that central to UAE’s development policy has been focusing on integrating women into politics and urging girls to follow careers in STEM fields.  Next, Ms. Adams spoke of the need to tackle obstacles in financing gender equality, which was reinforced by Ms. Nathan, who mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in this area.  Then Ms. Ptacek spoke of the need for better education for girls, while Ms. Singh gave her account of being an acid attack survivor.

In the second part of the event, H.E. Ms. Hamamoto mentioned the Gender Champions Initiative, to which over 100 heads of institutions in Geneva have signed gender parity pledges for. Next, Ms. Wainaina, Mr. Drennan, and Ms. Gallach mentioned that their reasons for being advocates for gender equality were rooted in their individual observations of the traditional roles of women in their childhood, in the criminal justice system, and in the field of journalism. Then, Ms. Terada and Dr. Dahlerup respectively spoke of the need to have greater instruments for monitoring the hiring processes at workplaces. Lastly, Ms. Fleming and Ms. Montgomery performed “How Can I Keep From Singing,” which was followed by Ms. Dora, Ms. Greene, Ms. Hardon, Ms. Frasier, and Messrs. Blake’s performance of “One Woman.”

Meeting: International Women’s Day Special Event: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 8, 2016; 10:00-12:45; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Ms. Pamela Falk, Mistress of Ceremonies (MC), United Nations (UN) Resident Correspondent, and CBS News, TV, and Radio Correspondent; Ms. Tennille Amor, Singer; Secretary-General (SG) Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN); His Excellency (H.E.) Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA); Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); His Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); Her Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United Nations (UN); Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Board of the Global Policy Forum (GPF); Ms. Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships at MasterCard; Ms. Fátima Ptacek, Youth Activist and the Voice of “Dora the Explorer”; Ms. Monica Singh, Activist and Acid Attack Survivor; Ms. Renée Fleming, Opera Singer; Ms. Jessie Montgomery, Violinist, Music Composer, and Educator at the Albany Symphony Orchestra; Her Excellency (H.E.) Pamela Hamamoto, Permanent Representative of the United States (U.S.) to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva; Ms. Carole Wainaina, the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Human Resources (HR); Mr. Peter Thomas Drennan, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General  (USG) for Safety and Security; Ms. Cristina Gallach, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Communications and Public Information; Ms. Saori Terada, Adviser for Gender Integration to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Dr. Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University; Ms Andrea Dora, Ms. Alexa Greene, Ms. Imari Hardon, Ms. Ann Frasier, Mr. Thomas Blake, and Mr. William Blake (Broadway Singers)

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: 50/50 x 2020

 

Mind The Gap: Bridging Gender Pay Divides

Ms Dininage’s opening discussion focused on what business can do to ensure there’s no gender pay gap, which is the percentage in difference between male and female average earnings. Mckinsey estimates 0.6 trillion pounds extra in UK’s GDP if that pay gap could be bridged. Women often end up in occupations that are narrow in scope – too many hairdressers, not enough engineers – so the key is getting girls into these high-paid sectors. Businesses also need to make sure they have programs in place to retrain and keep maternity leave workers, and to get away from this “culture of presenteeism”, where people are judged by how many hours they are at their desk rather than the work they do. The UK aims to eliminate gender pay gap within a generation, and so will require greater efforts of transparency. Businesses with over 250 employees will be required to publish their pay and bonus gap data. 30 hours of free childcare per week will also be mandated.

Ms. Kiviniemi offered a presentation showing that there are more working women in OECD countries than at any point in history. The price of motherhood is often too high, due to childcare, work interruptions, and lower wages. The Average pay gap is 22% in families with one children, compared with 7% in couples with no children. Unequal sharing of family responsibilities, wage-sharing policies and union coverage, and discrimination are factors that affect the pay gap to some degree. OECD recommends employment-protected well-paid maternity leave to working parents (especially fathers), more access to food, and affordable childcare and long-term care, as the lack of these frequently reduces the amount of time women are available to work. We must encourage women towards leadership roles.

Meeting: The Gender Pay Gap: What is it, why does it still exist and how do we get rid of it?

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 – 11:30; Conference Room B

Speakers: Ms. Helene Reardon Bond, Deputy Director Head of Gender Equality, Government Equalities Office; Ms. Caroline Dininage, Prime Minister for Women in the United Kingdom Government; Ms. Louise McSorley, Head, Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia;  Ms. Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD; Ms. Emer Timmons, President, British Telecom (BT) Global Services, UK

Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Correcting the Absence of Women in STEM

This meeting was held with the intentions of both celebration and discussion on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and the still-prevalent disparity of women in science.

Princess Dr. El-Hashmite served as the moderator as well as a speaker for this panel. She asserted that the lack of women in science hinders reaching maximum potential in this field, and noted the difficulties of women pursuing careers in and outside of STEM, such as a lack of nurseries at work. She then said that she wanted to be recognized as a scientist, not as a woman in science.

Dr. Dalli went on to speak on how despite the growing number of females graduating from high education, the ratio of females to males pursuing science remains low. At the upper echelons of research, science policy, and the like, the ratio is even worse.

On behalf of UN Women Dr. Puri thanked Malta for its continued support of women in science initiatives and noted how women make up just 28% of global researchers and 5% of the national academy of science. She said that the gap extends beyond research into the realm of policy and executive positions relating to science.

Next, Ms. Jekogian spoke about her dreams of pursuing neuroscience, and Prince El-Hashemite made a pledge to support women and girls in STEM. Ms. Roudil of UNESCO stated that women and girls within science hold the key for innovation, and then Ms. Kogar stressed that for progression in scientific areas of study such as environment and artificial intelligence women are fundamental.

Dr. Lee Karlon noted that within science venture capital only about 4-10% are women, and instead of promises, individuals should move towards progress.

Meeting: High-level Forum on the Occasion of the First Annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Date/Location: Thursday, February 11, 2016; 10:00-13:00; United Nations Headquarters Conference Room 1

Speakers: HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Executive Director, Royal Academy of Science International Trust, Founder of Women in Science International League; Hon. Dr. Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, Malta; H.E. Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women; Ms. Rebecca Jekogian, Girl in Science; HRH Prince Zein El-Hashemite; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Special Representative and Director of the UNESCO Office at the United Nations; Miss Begum Kogar, Youth Vision; Dr. Ann Lee-Karlon, President, Association of Women in Science; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly; Richard Jordan-Representative of Elected Representatives in New York City and State; Ms. Nilgun Yerli

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick