(Xinhua) -- Governments should adopt new policy and
legislative incentives in a bid to address a glaring gender
disparity in scientific disciplines, said a senior UN
Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
official on Monday.
Therese Ndong-Jatta, the Regional
Director at the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, said
that countries must address gender gap in science and technology
as a matter of urgency in order to realize sustainable peace and
“Science related fields will continue
to play a crucial role for sustainable development and we
simply cannot afford to leave behind the full potential for
creation and innovation women can bring,” Ndong-Jatta said
during an event to mark the 2018 International Day of Women
and Girls in Sciences held in Nairobi.
The theme of this year’s International
Day for women and girls in sciences sought to challenge
governments to adopt radical measures aimed at tackling gender
disparity in the uptake of the critical discipline.
Ndong-Jatta decried poor
representation of the female gender in the scientific field
saying it could undermine the attainment of UN 2030 goals in
“The under-representation of women in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
translates into loss of critical mass of talent, thoughts
and ideas which hinders countries from achieving their
maximum development potential,” said Ndong-Jatta.
She decried cultural myths, archaic
policies and under-funding that is to blame for dismal female
enrollment in scientific disciplines in the institutions of
“Promoting the participation of women
and girls in sciences means changing mindsets, fighting
gender stereotypes and investing in mentorship programs,”
Senior UN officials, policymakers,
academia and campaigners attended the Nairobi forum to mark the
International Day for Women and Girls in Sciences.
The Director General of the United
Nations Offices in Nairobi (UNON), Sahle Work Zewde said that
greater participation of the female gender in the scientific
discipline is key to address poverty, disease, hunger and
conflicts affecting low income countries.
“There is need to open doors for women
and girls to advance their career in science and technology.
Policy changes and political goodwill will help address
gender gaps in sciences,” Work-Zewde said.