UN: UNESCO chief says women vital for scientific development

New York, US (PANA) - The world needs science and science needs women to ensure sustainable growth and development, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said on Thursday.

"UNESCO's message is clear – the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will
not meet its promise without investing in women's and girls' empowerment through and
in science," Ms. Bokova said in a message marking the first International Day of Women
and Girls in Science.

According to the most recent UNESCO Science Report, women account for only 28 per
cent of researchers across the world, with the gap deepening at the higher echelons of decision-making.

Ms. Bokova said that women also have less access to funding, to networks, to senior positions, which put them at a further disadvantage in high impact science publishing.

"This calls for deep and sustained change, starting in the earliest years through
improved participation of women and girls in science education, training and research
activities at all levels," she stressed.

"Girls' and women's access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) cannot be envisaged when girls and women remain the majority of out-of-school children, youth and illiterate adults.

"This gap throws a shadow over entire societies, as no country can move forward
with only half its creativity, energy, and dreams," she added.

Based on a study conducted in 14 countries, the UN estimated that the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and Doctor's degree in science-related fields are 18, eight and two per cent respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37, 18 and six per cent.

In that regard, Ms. Bokova said: "Gender equality is a global priority at UNESCO,
and promoting women and girls in science stands at the heart of this action, through
a range of initiatives."

She also called on all partners and governments to redouble efforts to empower girls
and women through and in science, as a foundation to take forward the 2030 Agenda.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR   11Feb2016

11 february 2016 17:59:21

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