On the 11th of February, the UN celebrates the international day for women and girls in science! During the last decades, the global community have made a lot of effort to inspire women and girls in the field of science. However, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating to the fullest.
The purpose of the celebration is to increase the representation of women in scientific disciplines. Gender equality is crucial for the realization of the UN's goals for sustainable development, specifically goal five on gender equality. Since the turn of the millennium, gender equality has been central to the work of the UN and international organizations, with some startling results.
The UN established the day in 2015. The aim was to encourage women and girls to reach their potential as researchers and innovators. The day was adopted through Resolution A / RES / 70/212, which emphasizes that it is extremely important that women and girls have access to education and training in science and technology. At the same time, the resolution emphasizes that women should have an equal right to full employment in these fields.
The international community has been working to increase the number of female researchers for several years. However, the effort meets resistance. Despite the fact that more women have access to education, social norms still affect the opportunities for women. This means that many women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM = Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics). These disciplines are fundamental for sustainable development. Low female participation means less influence for women while the areas have a smaller supply of knowledgeable people - this has an impact on the development of society.
- Women belong in the scientific disciplines. Yet academic stereotypes prevents this. It is time to recognize that greater diversity creates more innovation, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the celebration last year.
Women in the important arenas
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the existing gender inequality, especially for female researchers who are early in their careers. The theme for last year's celebration was thus an increased female representation in the scientific fight against the pandemic virus.
The seventh celebration takes place this year in a virtual format from the UN headquarters in New York, focusing on women's work and influence within sustainability goal number 6, clean water and sanitation. NORSAR's expertise in real-time monitoring of seismic events is also used, among other things, to detect leaks in water pipes. About thirty percent of all the water obtained from drinking water sources in Norway today disappears before it reaches consumers. As drinking water pipes experience leakage and water loss, the water supply in Norway becomes more vulnerable to pollution.
This year's international celebration aims to recognize the role of women in research, not only as recipients, but also as actors who create lasting change in challenging areas such as water shortages. According to the UN, billions of people will not have access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation and hygiene services by 2030, unless the current effort quadruples.
As an international research foundation, NORSAR aims to create a safer world by conducting research on the earth's vibrations. In order to realize these goals, it is crucial for us to hire the most competent employees. Being able to choose from more women will also be invaluable for the development of tomorrow's society.
Last year, NORSAR marked UN Day for Women and Girls in Research by interviewing several of the foundation's female employees. Women and girls in science are an important celebration internationally as well as in Norway. We are happy and proud to have increased our proportion of women in recent years to 33%!