Women in science leadership

This International Women’s Day ISC members and partners are celebrating gender equality in different domains of science – and in the pandemic response.

women scientists discuss

Each year, the 8th of March is a moment to focus on the achievements of women worldwide, across many different domains. In 2021, as thoughts turn to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme for this International Women’s Day is ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world‘. The theme celebrates the unprecedented efforts of women on the front lines of the pandemic, whether as scientists striving to understand the virus and develop a vaccine, health workers caring for the sick, care-givers looking after some of society’s most vulnerable people, or community and national leaders.

This year’s International Women’s Day highlights the transformative power of women’s equal participation.

From the UN Secretary General’s message on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021.

ISC members and partners are today celebrating International Women’s Day through virtual events, special publications, and by amplifying their year-round work to advance women in science leadership:

  1. The Global Young Academy (GYA), Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India are organizing a webinar to celebrate the day, hearing from women scientists about their career and leadership journeys. Find out more and follow the livestream. The GYA also has reason to celebrate today as its new member cohort achieves gender parity within its total membership for the first time (101 female/98 male/1 non-binary).
  2. Making waves for ocean science: Empowering Women Leaders in the Ocean Decade
    This virtual event taking place in the context of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will focus on the positive impacts of empowering women in ocean science, highlight good practices and principles to help advance gender equity, and provide recommendations to inspire, enable, and support women to achieve and thrive in ocean science leadership positions. Find out more and register.
  3. Over on the European Consortium for Political Research blog, The Loop, political scientists explore gender sensitive or feminist policies in practice, with blogs on How the European Parliament worked gender equality into the EU pandemic response and Feminist foreign policies are already with us – but they have some way to go to realise their full potential.
  4. The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) Secretariat celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women through the launch of the report from the Academy’s Women in Science Summit themed: Women in Science and Nigeria’s Development.

This International Women’s Day, we encourage you to explore these thought-provoking and inspiring resources and events.


Additional resources from around our networks

If you haven’t already had chance to listen to the ISC podcast Better allies, better science, featuring President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Ineke Sluiter and ISC Patron Mary Robinson about practical steps to being better allies for women, you can listen here:

And you can catch up on recent episodes here. It’s also a great moment to revisit our 2020 podcast series, Women in Science.


In October 2020, The GYA Women in Science group launched stories about Motherhood in Science:

Download the publication Motherhood in Science – How children change our academic careers.


Read To be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive, an excerpt from the UNESCO Science Report. This excerpt is co-authored by Tonya Blowers, Programme Coordinator for the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).

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Gender equality in science

The project aims to increase gender equality in global science, through improved sharing and use of evidence for gender policies and programmes in scientific institutions and organizations at national, regional and international levels.


Image: WIPO. Photo: Emmanuel Berrod.

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