International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2020

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day recognises and celebrates the critical role played by women but also aims to promote their full and equal access to participation in science. However, despite more women than ever working across the sciences, it is still a male-dominated field. According to figures from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. We asked colleagues across the IDDO and WWARN networks for their views. How we could encourage more women into science? And what changes are needed in order to keep them in science?

Women in Science Day

Dr Corine Karema is a member of the WWARN Scientific Advisory Committee and is a Malaria Senior Programme Officer at the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

“My advice to women and girls thinking about a career in science would be: Do it, it’s great. You can work in science outside of academia and still have a great job and great opportunities. Don’t wait for opportunities, create them! Importantly, don’t be afraid of failure, just work as hard as you can, keep your head down and believe in yourself, all will be alright!”

As a society, we need to look at this with great alarm, and we have to start thinking about how we can make the female scientist’s career more attractive again by providing them with effective training and education. They need to be able to compete at all levels and in all scientific domains as well as be supported in their work-life balance.

Roles models and mentoring as well as society and family support are essential, particularly in countries where stereotypes are still present.”


Gloria Mason is a member of the Ebola Data Access Committee and is the Director for the Liberia National Ethics Review Board.

"Women are great thinkers, they can inspire and transform a generation if they are provided with a suitable platform to make a difference.

A woman needs a space for mentorship, a platform to make her voice heard, a framework to nurture her skills and a trust that her ability can change the way women are often perceived.

Give a woman a stepping stone, and she will build you a platform for social justice, academic growth, and economic transformation"


Dr Fabiana Barreira is the Senior Clinical Manager for Chagas at DNDi.

“Never doubt that you can go far and make a difference to the world and never be discouraged in the face of failure. Each contribution is a new step in this long journey that is science”

“Join other women and bring the political debate to the benches. Awareness of gender differences is fundamental for the reflection and growth of the team as a whole and for the contribution of a diverse group”

“Encourage diversity policies at universities to ensure greater representation of women in academia. Participation in scientific projects during graduation is a great motivator to pursue a career in science”




Dr Chinwe Lucia Ochu is an Ebola Steering Committee Observer who works as Head, Research, Training and Knowledge Management at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“Fear is your greatest enemy. Remember, no one knows your stuff more than you do. So, be bold and go show the world what you've got!

“To get more women in science we need to make mentorship an integral part of the training of women in science. We need to create a resource-base where women in science can readily find help from others in the field when they need it.”