11 February 2019 marks the 4th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an event led by United Nations (UN)-Women and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The day promotes the involvement of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Gender bias in medical publishing is an issue we’ve covered several times; from under-representation of women as authors and editors, to bias in the selection of peer reviewers. Reports indicate that this lack of gender parity begins early in academic publishing careers and currently only 28% of the world’s researchers are women. Gender bias also affects rates of ‘prestigious’ authorships — such as final or corresponding author, or authorship of articles published in high impact factor journals — and women are less likely than men to win awards for their research.
The UN and UNESCO highlight that addressing gender parity in STEM not only promotes full and equal access for women and girls but, through their increased inclusion, can ‘unlock innovation’ in the field. This theme is also emphasised by The Lancet in a new issue in their Lancet Women series. This year, the UN is holding a two-day forum entitled ‘Investment in Women in Science for Inclusive Green Growth’, to highlight the role that women and girls can play in achieving sustainable development goals, discuss best practice for investment in women in this area, and hear the perspectives of advocates for women and girls in science from around the world.
Get involved! Take a look at the A–Z of ways to take action now. Online, follow the ongoing movement @WomenScienceDay and join the conversation using #WomenInScience, #ChooseScience and #February11.