Women in Science in the Pursuit of Excellence: UN speech

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet‘ speech at the Rockefeller University on the occasion of the award of the Pearl Meister Greengard prize to renowned neuroscientist Brenda Milner. November 3, 2011.

“Statistics show us how far we are from gender equality. Of the estimated 1.3 billion poor in the world more than sixty per cent are women. Of the estimated 780 million illiterates in the world about sixty-five per cent are women. Up to six out of every ten women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and produce half of the world’s food, yet earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income and own less than one per cent of the world’s property. Only one in four senior officials or managers is a woman.

In 2010, six per cent of elected head of states or government were women. On average, women hold 16 per cent of ministerial posts and 19 percent of seats in parliament.
And in the sciences throughout the world, only a handful of women preside over a national science academy.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, women represent not only half of the world population but also a tremendous untapped potential from which their community, society and entire nation can benefit.

We already know that many industrialized economies will soon face shortages of scientists and engineers. In the decades to come, people who master the sciences will change the world to a large extent. And for these reasons and more, it is important to fully tap the human potential of both women and men.”

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