Guterres urges to overcome bias preventing women from pursuing science

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for concerted efforts to overcome systemic bias preventing women and girls from pursuing science.

In his video message for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to be observed on Feb. 11, Guterres said that "both girls and boys have the potential to pursue their ambitions in science and mathematics, in school and at work. But, systemic discrimination means women occupy less than 30 percent of research and development jobs worldwide."

"We need concerted, concrete efforts to overcome stereotypes and biases," he said.

"One starting point is banishing the predominantly male images of scientists and innovators on social media, in textbooks and in advertising," he added.

"We need to encourage and support girls and women to achieve their full potential as scientific researchers and innovators. Women and girls need this, and the world needs this, if we are to achieve our ambitions for sustainable development on a healthy planet," said the UN chief.

"Throughout history, from Hildegard of Bingen to Wangari Maathai, women scientists have built our world. It's time to support and invest in them," the Secretary-General concluded.

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Unfortunately, women and girls continued to be excluded from participating fully in science.

According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and Doctor's degree in science-related field are 18 percent, 8 percent and 2 percent respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37 percent, 18 percent and 6 percent.

In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring Feb. 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

[ Editor: meng ]


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