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

Gender Bias: © UNICEF/Mary Gelman A Brazilian student working on a robot in Rio de Janeiro

On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, UN Secretary-General António Guterres 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 in a message for the day.

“Feb. 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an important opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions of women and girls to the scientific community in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, and Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, British Columbia said in. a statement.

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.

In some places, women and girls have limited or no access to education. Mr. Guterres described 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 recognize that inclusion fosters innovation, and let every woman and girl fulfil her true potential,” the UN chief concluded.

“In B.C., we are fortunate to have world-class post-secondary institutions committed to pushing the boundaries of scientific research…many exciting opportunities and we encourage women…join us to celebrate their achievements and support more women and girls in seeking careers in science…develop a more inclusive and sustainable economy in British Columbia, ” Bailey and Paddon said in a statement.

Closing the gap

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.


  • 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

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

“Many of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, require innovative solutions and the talents of women and girls are essential to help deal with some of these issues. Pursuing careers in science provides them with endless possibilities.

“We invite all of you to