The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an EQUALS Global Partner, participated in a two-day forum held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8-9 February 2018 on "Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development". The event was held to commemorate the 3rd International Day for Women and Girls in Science, celebrated each year on 11 February.
The forum was organized, under the lead of the Government of the Republic of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust, by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Hungary and Vietnam to the United Nations. It was co-sponsored by Permanent Representations of Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Cyprus, Georgia, Paraguay, Portugal, Rwanda, San Marino and Thailand Missions to the United Nations; as well as the International Labour Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, ITU and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The forum sought to review relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action relating to science, technology and innovation, and to understand equality and parity in science, capacity building, cooperation and data governance. The forum covered all fields of science and featured many stories of career journeys and initiatives by inspiring women in science from around the world.
Ms. Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations, was a speaker at the high-level panel on "Equality and Parity in the Science Policy Interface for Sustainable Development". ITU presented data on the gender digital divide and the low percentages of women in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
Ms. Wynhoven stressed the tremendous potential for women and girls to work in this field and urged women and girls to fill the gap as the sector needed them. She called upon stakeholders to frame gender responsive strategies and to develop collaborations at all levels, such as through EQUALS, so as to break down the barriers faced by women in taking up careers in technology.