Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Dr Helena Dalli chaired the whole-day session second conference celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science organised in partnership with the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

The conference entitled: Gender, Science and Sustainable Development: The Impact of the Media, drew participants from the areas of politics, government, science, education and the private sector.

Minister Dalli also addressed the conference and spoke about the effects of stereotypes in the media against women in science and the way the media contributes towards building such stereotypes. She remarked how research shows that these can have significant effects on a person’s behaviour and achievements.

Dr Dalli emphasised the need to create the conditions for the media to shape people’s perception of the world, and in the process shed their own outwardly and inwardly prejudice.

“Let’s break and not build stereotypes” reiterated Dr Dalli, whilst stressing the importance of role models and positive media images which are of the essence for the next generation of female scientists.

Minister Dalli quoted recent data that shows how only one in six engineers is a woman. Similarly, only two in every five chemists are female while there is only one woman in computer science and mathematics for every three men.

Dr Dalli stated that through the necessary empowerment, girls will continue to pursue their dream and determine their own future.

“Women’s place is in science. #MakeItHappen” concluded Minister Dalli.

The conference was also addressed by RASIT Executive Director Princess Nasreen El-Hashemite; Mr Peter Thompson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly; and Ms Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women. They gave their perspectives on the role of the private sector in achieving parity in sustainable development, the impact of media, and science policy interface for women and girls.

Malta played a key role in the adoption of the International Day for Women and Girls in Science through a United Nations resolution which was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2015.

This international day which was celebrated for the first time last year aims to highlight the existing deficit of girls and women in areas of science, whilst improving the situation through education, and also through the use of media to show how this deficit should be addressed.

Source: Government of Malta