Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Session 4: Breaking down barriers- closing the gender gap in science and technology

Thu 04 May 2023, 10.20 am
Trusteeship Council Chamber


6 7 9 11 17


This session will highlight examples and lessons learned from gender and STI initiatives that are helping to move the needle towards making innovation ecosystems more inclusive and representative and explore what is needed to scale up and accelerate further progress. With the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its SDGs, countries committed to sustainable development that leaves no one behind. This will require significant global transformation in which science, technology and innovation will be the key transformers and enablers.  Women and girls make up half the population and without their full participation, we are losing half of the potential creators, innovators and scientists, and their essential contribution to solving the world’s major problems. Closing the gender gap in this area throughout the cycle of education, employment, entrepreneurship, and leadership will be essential. It is also an imperative for women’s economic empowerment, enabling girls and women to make their own choices and participate fully in society. Against such background, this session will follow-up to the recent recommendations of the UN Commission on the Status of Women by exploring specific solutions, critically assessing cases and identifying best practices and practical measures on how to shift priorities, investments, and perceptions on women’s and girls’ place in science, technology and innovation.


Chaired by H.E. Mr. Thomas Woodroffe, United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council



Ms. Maki Kawai 

Ms. Maki Kawai (Japan), President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

Ms. Maki Kawai (Japan), Director General, Institute for Molecular Science, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo Prof. Maki Kawai is the Director-General of the Institute for Molecular Science and Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo. She has been serving as a member of the Japanese government’s committee on science & technology policy planning, and contributed to the drafting of a model plan for intellectual property strategy (2003-2007), as well as for a new system for education as a member of the Prime Minister’s Education Rebuilding Implementation Council (2013- 2021). As a scientist, she has been working on interdisciplinary research in the fields of surface science, physical chemistry, condensed matter physics, materials science and nanoscience. Her research has been highly evaluated by many academic societies, and she has been the recipient of various awards, including the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) Award (2008), the Gerhard Ertl Lecture Award from the Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Plank Society (2015), the Medard W. Welch Award of AVS, U.S.A (2016), and the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award (2019). In addition to her fundamental scientific research, she is a widely respected leader in scientific management. This activity, involving science in the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, has made her a highly valued member of the international scientific community, culminating with her former position as the RIKEN Executive Director in charge of research affairs (2010-2015) and former president of the Chemical Society of Japan (2019-2020). She is Fellow of the American Physical Society, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. 




Tara Chklovski is the Founder and CEO of Technovation - the world’s largest technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Technovation has empowered 400,000 participants across 120+ countries to tackle local problems using cutting-edge technologies (mobile and AI). Tara has been featured in the award-winning documentary Codegirl, and named “the pioneer empowering the incredible tech girls of the future” by Forbes. She has presented Technovation’s work at COP27, at UN Transforming Education Summit in Paris, 2022, led the Global Online Education Taskforce addressing education needs during COVID and the education track at the UN’s AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, 2019.  



Najat Aoun Saliba  

NA. Saliba is currently a member of the Parliament of the Lebanese Government. She is also a Professor in Chemistry at the American University of Beirut. Saliba leads several projects related to understanding the chemistry of inhalable tobacco and non-tobacco smoke and atmospheric aerosols. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, Dr. Saliba has collaborated with many colleagues from the health, engineering, and social science sectors to bring a holistic view to the air pollution problems in the region. In addition, many of her most recent projects concentrate on community-led environmental projects that are based on the co-production of knowledge for finding the most suited local solutions. She was the co-founder and executive director of Khaddit Beirut and theDirector and co-founder of the Environment Academy (EA). NA Saliba has given numerous keynote addresses and presentation at UN and Ministerial conferences. She has over 100 publications that are well cited and in 2021, she serves as a Member of the Scientific Board of the International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) at UNESCO and as a Chair of a Technical Advisory Group on the Global Air Quality Platform and Health (GAPH-TAG) at WHO. 

Also, in 2021, she was nominated by Apolitical’s the 12 most influential people in climate justice and 100 most influential people in Gender Policy. In 2019, she received the 2019 L’Oreal UNESCO International Award for Women in Science, the National Order of the Cedar from the President of the Lebanese Republic, the Honorary Cedar Shield from the Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon and the Paul Harris Fellow Pin from the Rotary Club Beirut Cedars. Also, in 2019 she was voted among the top 100 most influential women by BBC. In 2016 she received the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research Award in the Environmental Category.


Janet Abbate is Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on the history, culture, and politics of computing and the Internet, including the underrepresentation of women and minorities in computing. Her 2012 book Recoding Gender: Women’s Changing Participation in Computing explores how gender has shaped computing and how the experiences of female software pioneers can inform current efforts to broaden participation in science and technology. Other major publications include Inventing the Internet (1999) and Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society (with co-editor Stephanie Dick, 2022).