Michel Spiro, President of the Steering Committee of IYBSD 2022, gave the following comment during the official celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science In New York United Nation Headquarters on 11th February 2020.
“On behalf of IUPAP (the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) and, I am sure I can say on behalf of many other International Scientific Unions, I can testify that the International Scientific Community is mobilized towards understanding the gender gap in science and towards reducing it. A very strong example of this mobilization is the project entitled “A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?” which involves the collaboration of eleven scientific partner organizations, one of them the IUPAP, and which received funding by the International Science Council for the period 2017-2019. This project has produced, so far, three main outputs:
- a global survey of scientists with more than 32,000 responses;
- an investigation of the effect of gender in millions of scientific publications;
- the compilation of a database of best practices to encourage girls and young women to enter STEM fields, available as a website.
We are right now seeking additional support to be able to continue this very important work.
I can also refer to the importance of international years – including the just recent International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements, to highlight the role of women in science challenging stereotypes and attracting more girls into STEM fields. In this regard, the upcoming International Year of Basic Sciences for Development in 2022 which was approved by UNESCO and also acknowledged by the World Science Forum in November 2019, with its focus on gender equality and women empowerment, would be key to advance towards a more equitable practice of science with direct impact on sustainable development. It would also serve to amplify the results of the Gender Gap in STEM project.
I hope very much that the International Year of Basic Sciences for Development in 2022 be proclaimed this year by the UN General Assembly so that the messages we want to pass be well prepared to enhance global awareness of basic sciences open to the world for research, education and development, with a special attention to bringing a diverse pool of people together from all over the world, to improving the quality of life, to reducing the gender gap and empowering women, to reducing the inequalities and the development divide.”