ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):International Day of Women and Girls in Science was marked across the globe on Tuesday including Pakistan with a call to ensure participation of women and girls in the male-dominated field of science through increased investment and giving them opportunities and incentives.

Women have been rendering remarkable services in every field of life however despite having immense capabilities, their reluctance to join the field of science puts question on the education system, which is unable to facilitate their participation in this field. At present, less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women.

According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.

Globally, female students’ enrollment is particularly low in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (three per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (five per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (eight per cent).

Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from science related fields. As in the real world, the world on screen reflects similar biases-the 2015 Gender Bias Without Borders study by the Geena Davis Institute showed that of the onscreen characters with an identifiable STEM job, only 12 per cent were women.

Talking to APP, Principal Scientific Officer, Pakistan Science Foundation, Syeda Rehana Batool said no doubt Pakistani women have been contributing in all fields of life side by side with their male counterparts.

She said that they always find the names of girls in toppers of different exams as well at the merit lists of medical and engineering, which is an encouraging trend. “We have to ensure their participation in not only pursuing studies in such fields, but also in adoption of these fields as professional career by facilitating them more.

Hopefully, we will see a large number of women as scientists and experts in this field just like their participation in other fields, she said.

She said the government must provide incentives to the women so that they can continue their study and profession after their marriage.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science, formally recognised by the United Nations in 2015, provides a platform to recognise the critical role that women and girls play addressing the major challenges of our time, through their active contributions in the fields of science and technology.

Celebrated on February 11, the day is an important opportunity to promote full and equal access to strengthen participation in science for women, girls and other underrepresented groups.