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UNESCO and UN Women have chosen the theme of “Closing the gender gap in science” for this year’s International Day. This aligns with SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality, which aims to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, eliminate harmful practices such as early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, and provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health care. Globally, almost half of all married women currently lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Secretary-General has emphasized that addressing gender inequalities requires overcoming gender stereotypes, promoting role models to encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, developing programs to advance women in science, and creating work environments that nurture women’s talents, especially those from minority groups. Women only make up a third of the global scientific community, receive less funding compared to men, are underrepresented in publications, hold fewer senior positions in major universities. In some places, women and girls have limited or no access to education which is a violation of human rights.

UNESCO’s Call for Action provides recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of gender-based inequalities in science. The Secretary-General believes that it is essential to have women and girls participate equally in scientific discoveries and innovations as inclusion fosters innovation. He concludes by stating that women and girls belong in science.

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