Every February 11, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the world celebrates the achievements of Women and Girls in Science as agents for Sustainable Development.
The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) is an International Non-Governmental Organization associated with the United Nations with a consultative status with its Economic and Social Council and the Department of Global Communications. RASIT was signed into being in 1968 by the late HRH Prince Mohammed bin King Faisal (I) El-Hashemite, its Founder President, to provide and advance science, education, economy, and arts through its global programs. As mandated in its constitution, it promotes equality and equity in science, technology and innovation for socio-economic Sustainable Development.
For more than 50 years, RASIT has been working regionally and internationally to ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment; raising the rights of women and girls in science to the highest attainable standards in education and equal employment opportunities, and to achieving the full participation of women in science in decision making and sustainable development programmes.
Empowering youth as agents of change and recognizing the current and historical achievements of women in science is an important strategy to reverse the widening gender gap, particularly across the tech sector. RASIT has a long-standing history as visionary leaders in promoting women’s voices in science as shown by the historical resolution titled “International Day of Women and Girls in Science” passed by Member States. On 22nd December 2015, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution demonstrating the commitment of member states to achieving gender equality in science.
RASIT made history at the United Nations as the first Non-Governmental Organization credited with creating a UN International Day to “educate the general public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity.”
Since 2016, RASIT has organized the commemoration in close collaboration with the United Nations and its agencies, inter-governmental organizations, and member states. Highly visible during these years has been the participation of United Nations senior officials, government ministers, members of parliaments, members of the private sector, academia, and other civil society actors, as well as video messages from world head of states.
At a time when so many international, regional and national decisions are based on science, it is becoming increasingly important to inform the public and policy-makers about the achievement of women in science in bringing economic and sustainable development benefits. Bringing about the inclusive world envisioned in the UN 2030 Development Agenda will require the inclusion of women in science, decision-making and policy formulation and implementation at all levels. This requires policy-makers to rethink the manner in which policies are conceived and delivered.
Ignoring the role of women in science in sustainable development jeopardizes the unity of society, harmony and development, and the future of our world. RASIT encourages women in science to reach out to their communities and share their achievements. Also, to communicate with the public by visiting schools, engaging with organizations and policy-makers, giving opportunities to young people. Furthermore, the #February11 Global Movement provides opportunities for partnership, networking and matchmaking with experts to support innovative solutions for development.
RASIT shaped #February11 into a platform for knowledge, advocacy and accountability to empower women in science. RASIT plays an important role in facilitating action on many fronts, mainly progress towards the United Nations programmes and agendas, by aiming at equality in science for socio-economic development. Since the adoption of this Resolution in 2015, RASIT’s associates and fellows are working hand-in-hand, in the “WE” mentality, with colleagues from all over the world to achieve the vision and goals of the #February11. Today more than ever, the global strategy for health, education, economies, development, and humanitarian outreach needs precisely the radiant sun of women in science—to provide light and nourishment. To provide healing. To dry out the swamps of poverty and unrest.
RASIT has been working in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 17, on creating global partnerships, ever since our founding. This is translated by its remarkable partnership with UN agencies, Departments, governments and intergovernmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.
RASIT’s Executive Director Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite stressed on the importance of the partnership with Turkish Airlines “Our partnership with Turkish Airlines, is a new step towards transforming challenges into opportunities for women and girls in science. RASIT and Turkish Airlines are working together to widen the world of women and girls. By working together in a cooperative, innovative and constructive way, we can leave behind us the many tragedies we see unfold around the world. In this way we can help build a life of opportunity and dignity for all women and girls in science”.
The world is full of women and girls who venture and constantly challenge themselves to learn and grow, searching for something new. They see possibilities and work to build their ideas for development and making impact.
With RASIT’s presence at the United Nations, we have been writing future history, and the #February11 Global Movement is part of our idea of creating history sooner and not later. RASIT is committed to improving the lives of girls and young women by giving them opportunities to shape their own future and the future of their communities, and to be the lead innovators of tomorrow -today.