The UN's International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 01, 2021

Written by: Vanessa Hennessey

On December 22, 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to establish an annual international day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology, through Resolution A/RES/70/212. This resolution has been implemented since then by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and UN-Women, in collaboration with institutions and society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. Through this resolution, they are working to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and February 11 has been declared the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

According to UIS (UNESCO Institute for Statistics) Data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. In Canada, the trends in labour participation by females in the Natural Sciences and Engineering can be seen below:

(Source: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)

While the numbers on the table above are rising, there is still much to be done to recognize women’s contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), as well as recruiting them and retaining them in these fields, not just in Canada, but globally. The United Nations is working towards this goal through the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed developmental goals, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. There are 17 goals in total, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015.

Source: UN

Celebrating women and girls in science, helping them advance in their fields globally, and recruiting and retaining them in their fields falls under Goal 9, to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.” Plus, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, with women making up 70% of the health and social workforce and working on the front lines, it is critical we recognize the work of women in STEM.

This February 11, make sure to check out the resources below for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #WomenInScience!


- United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science main website
- The UN's Page on Gender Equality
- Follow the UN on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and see their updates on February 11
- Check out WWEST's many resources for girls and women from kindergarten through adulthood