First International Day of Women and Girls in Science


The 11th of February 2016 was the first International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations General Assembly decided to establish this International Day to recognize the contribution of women and girls and encourage their engagement in the field. According to them, “Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The international water sector has repeatedly recognized the importance of women participation in water management. Yet the gender gap in terms of professional participation is still large and women continue to be underrepresented in the work force, largely in the most technical areas or at the top positions. According to an study developed by IWA in 15 countries in Africa and Asia, women summed up on average less than the 17% of the total workforce.

Facilitating girls’ access to training and education in science and engineering or reducing the barriers for women to develop a career as water professionals (e.g. recruitment, payment, family conciliation, etc.)  are crucial measures to boost female involvement in the sector. However cultural stereotypes play also a big role pushing girls away from choosing to enter in scientific and engineering studies and careers. The water sector has traditional been a male domain and in general is still stereotyped as a male-oriented sector (i.e. seen as more compatible with characteristics that have been traditionally associated and more appreciated in men and far from the femininity ideals). Broadening role models, portraying women leadership, and increasing visibility of the actual diversity in the field can help to change stereotypes.

The Water Youth Network is a very diverse community. Within our members we have several examples of female students and young female water professionals committed to their passions on as diverse topics as DRR, IWRM, waste water treatment, water policy, climate change, water innovation etc. If you are a young woman looking for inspiration to start your studies or career in water read our section “Featured Water Youth Leader of the month”.