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During the Women and Girls in STEM: Solving the Problems 24-hour marathon on November 10, the International Science Center and Science Museum Day featured a panel discussion with global thought leaders on Gender, STEM, and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hosted by the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City, this intriguing forum looked at issues, barriers, and opportunities surrounding the involvement of girls and women in the sciences—and in the worldwide effort to achieve the SDGs.

All over the world, science centers and science museums work—day in and day out—to create and deliver programs, exhibitions, and events that engage girls and young women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These community resources are working hard to help achieve SDG #5, Gender Equality.

But these institutions are just one part of the solution for the global STEM gender gap. What else is on the cutting edge in encouraging women and girls to pursue and sustain careers in STEM? What are some of the barriers that need to come down? How can facilitating progress on SDG #5, Gender Equality, help advance progress on all the other important goals for transforming our planet?

The discussion panel’s moderator was Jennifer Breslin, director and founder of Futuristas; former lead on science, technology, and innovation at UN Women; and co-lead of UN Women’s Youth, Gender and STEM Task Force.

Discussion participants included

  • Alba Avila, an engineer from Colombia
  • Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, a paleobiologist at the University of Cape Town/TWAS, 2013 winner of the Sub-Saharan Africa Prize for Public Understanding and Popularization of Science, and former president of South African Women in Science and Engineering
  • Cristin Dorgelo, president and CEO of the Association of Science-Technology Centers and former chief of staff for U.S. President Barack Obama’s science advisor
  • Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery at UW-Madison and previously associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Susana Lopez, a 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate from Cuernavaca, Mexico, who spearhead the scientific assault on a rotavirus that attacks nearly every child on Earth under the age of 5 and causes severe intestinal diseases
  • Justine Sass, chief of section in UNESCO’s Section of Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality (Paris)
  • Auguste von Bayern, president of the board of Biotopia in Munich
Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan