The world needs Science, and Science needs Women
According to a new UNESCO study on women in science, while the number of women pursuing careers in science is on the rise, reaching just over 33% of the world's researchers, progress is still too slow, particularly in Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering1.
Only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of computer science graduates are women2.
Not only is this a matter of equality, it is also a global social issue, particularly given that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as "Revolution 4.0", will be driven by these scientific fields - precisely those where women are most absent.
We are already seeing the dangerous biases generated by this lack of inclusiveness: in artificial intelligence, where women represent just 22% of people working in this field, algorithms frequently lead to discrimination mechanisms. Another alarming prospect is the over-representation of all women in jobs doomed to obsolescence: by 2050 half of all jobs in the world today are set to disappear, affecting 70% of women in a country like the United Kingdom.
It is therefore vital to act in favor of more inclusive research, and to encourage young girls to pursue careers in science, which too few still consider, despite being highly motivated to make a difference. Three out of four girls in Europe would like to contribute positively to the world through their jobs, but only 37% plan to pursue a career in science.
1 To be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive: third chapter of the UNESCO Science Report: the Race against Time for Smarter Development, due for full release in April 2021.Link to the study.
2 Source of data: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The figures for tertiary graduates cover 120 countries. The 33.3% share of female researchers is based on data for 107 countries. These data are the most recent for the years 2015-2018.