International Day of
Women & Girls in Science
|Día Internacional de la
Mujer y la Niña en la Ciencia
женщин и девочек в науке
|Journée Internationale des
Femmes et des Filles de Science
|International Day of
Women and Girls in Science
On December 22nd 2015, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution
demonstrates the commitment of Member States to achieving gender equality for women in science which
remains a major challenge. Inequality hinders the capacity of nations to unlock the full transformative
contribution which women in science can make to our world.
The dream was an idea that originated at the Inaugural World Women's Health and Development Forum in
February of 2015. The idea of the Forum was developed and brought to fruition by Her Royal Highness, Princess
Dr. Nisreen El Hashemite, Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust.
“Allow me to congratulate you on the creation of this Forum designed to address the links
between women’s health and sustainable development. From the Overview of the programme,
with its focus on health economics, health disparities and health systems and innovation, the
event promises to yield useful outcomes as a contribution to the discussions on the Post-2015
H.E. Mr. Sam K. Kutesa, President of 69th Session of the
General Assembly, United Nations
“The World Women’s Health and Development Forum brought together an amazing group of
global policy makers and practitioners and inspired the International Community to make a
difference for humanity”.
Dr. Amir Dossal, the Founder Chairman of the Global Partnerships Forum
Most of the distinguished guests and speakers at the Inaugural Forum, whether at ministerial,
intergovernmental, diplomatic, academic or professional levels, were Women in Science.
The Outcome Declaration of the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum, which the
participants contributed to and approved by acclamation, reflects an ambitious global action agenda and as a
Road Map for women’s health and development.
Enabling us to discuss the many existing problems, issues facing women and societies today, and then to
determine the indispensable solutions, actions, policies and programs to overcome these problems and issues,
we need to recognize the role of Women in Science in the sustainable development process. Such recognition
should be through acknowledging the accomplishments and the achievements of Women in Science.
The participants clearly indicated in the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration,
the need to ensure sustainability of development for women and all humankind, to achieve equality and full
participation for Women in Science in decision making and sustainable development programs, and to build
political, international and scientific support for the improvement of Women in Science education,
employment/right livelihoods and provision of services such as nursery at work.
· It is not acceptable that in many countries including USA and UK, women in science are paid
less than their male colleagues;
· It is not acceptable that girls do not have the equal quality of science education in many regions
around the world;
· It is not acceptable that women in science are not well represented in policy-making process
including in Intergovernmental Organizations.
This is not the future we want!
In terms of women and girls in science, it is valuable to note that a thorough search through google reveals that
women have literally played a role with men through 4,000 years of recorded history in terms of science.
Nonetheless, even though the accomplishments of women rank with those of their male counterparts, only 46
women have won Nobel Prizes, and if one eliminates those who have won for literature and who have been Nobel
Peace Prize Laureates, the actual number is barely 25.
There have been many women scientists in all fields, and many have worked during humanitarian emergencies
or made contributions in the field of nursing, botanists, physicists, mathematicians, economists, very often
relegated to footnotes in history.
RASIT strongly believes that the SDGs to a great degree need a strong science base, and this cannot be
achieved at any level unless girls and women have an incentive, such as recognition and the example of role
models, to have in front of them.
In implementing one of the points of the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration.
RASIT’s Executive Director wrote a letter on April 30th 2015 to H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th
Session of the General Assembly, requesting
“on behalf of all participants at the Inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum,
the Women in Science International League and the Associations of Women in Science
worldwide, I would like to ask you kindly to take the necessary steps to adopt the Inaugural World
Women’s Health and Development Forum Declaration in general and the call of all participants:
governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academic institutions, professionals,
youth and non-governmental organizations, and declare February 11th an International Day for
Women in Science”.
As soon as Her Royal Highness communicated to President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa concerning
next steps in creating the foundation for the proposed International Day of Women in Science, RASIT sought the
further counsel of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, who provided suggestions for
consideration of a proper orientation for a way forward.
Upon crafting language for a proposed draft resolution prepared by RASIT for consideration by Member States,
"placeholder language" needed to be developed since the SDG Summit had not yet been held. Member States
eventually crafted the "horizontal language" that would be the language used to refer to the SDG Summit and to
the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Therefore, the original draft resolution for consideration eventually by Member States included references to the
consensus declaration adopted by Heads of State and Government at Rio +20, "The Future We Want."
Important to the draft was the inclusivity of all stakeholders, emphasizing the social dimension of sustainable
development and the overarching importance of equality, especially for the most marginalized.
RASIT Executive Director Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite contacted the Hon. Minister Dr. Helena Dalli,
Minister of Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties of the Republic of Malta. During the Forum, the
Minister and her Royal Highness agreed that RASIT had great expertise in the issue of women in science, and
therefore, a draft concept note and the form of the draft was presented to the Permanent Mission of Malta for its
consideration. The informal consultations among Second Committee Experts was to be conducted by the
Delegation of Malta and commence at some time after the SDG Summit.
The Permanent Mission of Malta introduce the draft resolution in the Second Committee under Agenda Item 22
(b), Globalization and interdependence: science and technology for development.
During October and early November, the Delegation of Malta met with Member State delegates for the purpose
of perfecting the draft resolution create an annual commemoration to be inscribed on the official UN Calendar of
Observances for an International Day for Women in Science.
From the time of the first consultation, RASIT was doing work to obtain pledges from around the world that
demonstrated support for the draft resolution, and within 32 days, RASIT received almost 4 million pledges
electronically from around the world.
RASIT's interpretation of the word "science" was in its broadest context, ranging from economics and library
science to law and biological sciences.
Member States also broadened the idea of the Day, including girls in the title of the proposed Day and within the
text of the draft resolution.
As consultations proceeded, a number of Member States decided to join the list of co-sponsors, with eventually
65 Member States supporting the final draft.
On Friday, 4 December, a dream became a reality, when the Second Committee adopted without a vote a draft
resolution, A/C.2/70/L.4/Rev.1, proclaiming annually on 11 February a commemoration of the International Day
of Women and Girls in Science.
The next stop for the now-adopted Resolution would be the UN General Assembly, where the entire formal
Membership of the United Nations would take note of the Resolution.
On 22 December 2015, the President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Mogens Lyketoft of
Denmark, asked Member States if they would adopt this Resolution. When the President of the General
Assembly heard no objection, the Resolution now would receive its own document number, A/RES/70/212 and
would appear in the Annals of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Affectionately referred to worldwide as "The Science Princess", Her Royal Highness Princess Dr. Nisreen El-
Hashemite, because of her status as a renowned medical doctor and scientist herself, was able to bring
together government Ministers from 12 countries and a wide range of women in sciences of all kinds to aid in
the creation of this Day.
RASIT commends the Delegation of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Malta and the Government of
Malta for their tireless efforts and work in the crafting of the draft resolution and for the leading of the
consultations. Also, thanks to all delegations for the flexibility and constructive spirit with which they reacted to
the consultations leading to this important outcome.
For more than 17 years, and through its program the Women in Science International League, RASIT is working
closely with the United Nations system, as well as with other Intergovernmental Organizations, Governments,
and Civil Society and advocating on the need to ensure equality and full participation for Women in Science in
decision making and sustainable development programs; and access to comprehensive, high-quality education,
equal employment opportunities and promotion, with a clear consideration for the different needs of different
societies and cultures. Further, this year RASIT celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Women in Science
International Award, The First International Award to acknowledge and recognize Women Innovation,
Excellence, Intelligence, and Success, and to honor women as Leaders. In addition to helping many universities
worldwide to establish women in science society and funds, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the first
directory of women in science, which helped in creating scholarships, jobs, mentoring and collaboration. Last
but not least, RASIT managed to attract the attention of member states to adopt a historical resolution for
International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
THE RESOLUTION's STORY