Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and an opportunity to reiterate the need for swift and effective action to achieve gender equality.

Dr Kristian Olson, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital Global Health, wrote for Innovators Magazine about the importance of closing the gender gap in medtech, pointing to the sheer scale of disparity in America.

“In the United States, women represent only 24% of the STEM workforce and earn 41% of the PhDs in STEM fields. The U.S. Department of Commerce calculates that women with STEM degrees are less likely than men to work in a STEM occupation, largely due to a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping and less family-friendly flexibility in STEM fields.”

And Katherine Manuel – Senior Vice President, Innovation, Thomson Reuters, wrote for us not this issue, saying ‘collective action’ is needed to ‘reach full gender parity in STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

She said that while ‘there has been some encouraging dialogue around women in STEM over the last decade’ there was an element of ‘simply ‘talking the talk’ without ‘walking the walk’.

“Ensuring gender inclusion in STEM education and female career advancement is not just the right thing to do, it is necessary for the long-term success of our society. This lack of inclusion is based on societal stereotypes of gender preferences, which are more manifested than real. Again, if half the population is not getting equal access to where the biggest industry opportunities exist, we are collectively losing out. Gender parity in technology education and follow-on careers are necessary to fuel the next evolution of our economic growth. 

Katherine continued: “The United Nations (UN) specifically recognises this problem and addresses it head on in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs seek to end poverty while building the global economy and addressing key issues that impact all of us. Goal No. 5 tackles gender inequality because ‘advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and the well-being of girls and boys.’ This especially holds true in the STEM fields where the most economic opportunity abounds and where women can make a real impact on the future economy.’

Read the full article here.

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