30 January 2020
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated each year on 11 February, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened in order to achieve their full and equal access to science, gender equality, and empowerment.Science and gender equality are critical in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO estimates that women researchers account for 28.4% worldwide, they are actively pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and even outnumber men at these levels, but their numbers drop off abruptly at PhD level (Huyer, S. 2018. Is the gender gap narrowing in science and engineering? UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030). At the regional level, the average proportion of female researchers in Central Asia is 48.1%, with Kazakhstan (53.3%), Kyrgyzstan (49.4%), Uzbekistan (40.2%) and Tajikistan (36.9%) (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2018. Women in Science Fact Sheet, No.51.). Despite efforts to encourage women and girls to participate in science, there are many “leakages”: from stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities and bias women may face when choosing a career.