United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth Science‐Policy Interface
Young Women & Girls in Science‐Policy Interface
Science is recognised as a crucial pillar in building a sustainable and resilient society.
The science‐Policy Interface (SPI) provides the foundation for empirically‐based policies, facilitates the use of science as an enabler in policy implementation and review, and provides a unique scientific lens into monitoring impact. Furthermore, SPIs have been integral in identifying emerging priorities, drawing links between the interconnected nature of thematic issues, and devising solutions to address challenges and barriers to progress. Without science we will not be able to build the world we want and sustain it for future generations.
Despite efforts taken to reduce the gender gap, the balance between female and male scientists remains largely unequal. According to a study in 14 countries the probability of female students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science‐related field is 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentage of male students is 37%, 18% and 6%.1 While continued efforts should be made for closing the gender gap, recent successes have helped the scientific community move towards a more inclusive space.
In order to ensure equal opportunities for women to achieve higher‐education and and fulfill their potential as scientific contributors, the United Nations General Assembly adopted A/70/474/Add.2declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Last week this important day was truly recognised worldwide by both high level figures and scientists at both global and national levels.
The UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY) has recently launched the Youth Science Policy Interface Platform. Young female and male scientists, practitioners, scholars, and researchers will thereby be provided with a space to engage in all levels of SPI and with their unique skillsets in order to contribute to an evidenced‐based implementation of global sustainable development policy.
Within the UN MGCY Youth Science‐Policy Interface, thematic focal points were elected from a pool of applicants through a peer‐review process. 7 of the 9 thematic focal points are young women scientists from both the social and natural sciences, demonstrating their strong participation and willingness to engage. The most recent UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030 outlines continued challenges faced by women in science and an analysis on the changing gender gap in science and engineering. It highlights the importance of mainstreaming access to funding, research opportunities, leadership roles, legislation, policy development, and translational research in order to fulfil the next set of development goals.