United Nations CSW67 reaffirms the importance of STEM in addressing the gender gap

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Dr. Melanie Ratnam and Dr. Poh Tan at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for CSW67.

The Status of Women

Written by Dr. Melanie Ratnam, Vice President and Director of Policy and Advocacy at SCWIST

New York City, United Nations Headquarters — The 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) closed its two-week long session on March 17th having extensively discussed the critical role of technology and innovation in addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal #5 on gender equality.

UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, summarized the agreed conclusions and emphasized that it was the job of Member States and all stakeholders (governments, civil society organizations, and public/private sector players) to see that the agreed conclusions come to fruition for all women and girls in their respective countries.


Throughout CSW67, Dr. Poh Tan and Dr. Melanie Ratnam were proud to represent SCWIST and contribute at briefings with the Canadian Delegation as negotiations continued over a two-week period, including adding a recommendation to item 26 of Zero Draft of the CSW67 Agreeded Conclusions.

26 focuses on the negative social norms and gender stereotypes that are causing persistent gender gaps in STEM. SCWIST put forward that “The Government of Canada and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development should encourage and support tech and science companies across Canada to work closely with their communities to create and execute STEM outreach initiatives and programs. We cannot leave this work to teachers alone. STEM outreach from and within communities will help enrich and strengthen STEM interest for girls, and breaks assumptions and stereotypes of girls in STEM.

In many ways, the policy and advocacy work that SCWIST has been engaging in for years culminated in important contributions being made at this year’s CSW, as many Member States outlined efforts to address the gap by ramping up STEM education for girls and removing barriers for women when they pursue careers in STEM.

Dr. Poh Tan and Dr. Melanie Ratnam at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for CSW67.

From discussing topics on pay equity to addressing gender-based violence, we were happy to voice our expertise on the global stage, and upon coming home, we return with a deep sense of reaffirmation of how important the work being done at SCWIST is for women and girls in STEM across Canada.

Building on the momentum of our experience at CSW67, SCWIST’s Policy & Advocacy Team is excited to share more about our advocacy projects in the coming weeks and details about how our work aligns with the takeaways from CSW67 – stay tuned!

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