Despite challenges, global experts called for more opportunities for women scientists in light of technological advancements and global issues at the 2023 World Women Scientists Conference, which kicked off on Saturday in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.
"Currently, women remain significantly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Worldwide, only around a third of researchers are women. Additionally, women account for just 25 percent of science, engineering, and ICT (information and communications technology) jobs globally," said Beate Trankmann, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China, at the conference.
Trankmann noted that this gap not only put women at risk of being marginalized and excluded from the economy of the future but also limits the contributions women can make to designing the future and driving progress through the field of science. That's why she highlighted that increasing women's participation in science will also drive overall economic growth.
Elies Molins, co-president of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, also pointed out that gender inequality among scientific workers hampers technological innovation. To address this, biases against female scientists must be eliminated and more inclusive working environments should be created.
To support female scientists, Justine Cassell, an American professor and researcher of artificial intelligence, suggested providing guidance to girls, and encouraging women to leverage tools, such as ChatGPT, to overcome obstacles and excel in the field of science.
According to Wang Wenxu, vice-governor of Zhejiang, nearly half of the scientific workers in the province are women. In universities across Zhejiang, female postgraduates account for 51.1 percent, while female doctoral students make up 42.5 percent.
Wang stressed that female scientific workers, who are integral to Zhejiang's talent pool, are also indispensable for the development of technological innovation.
In a congratulatory letter to the conference, Ding Zhongli, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who was born in Shaoxing, remarked that the event offers a platform for global female scientists to share their views.
Centering around the topic of "Women's Wisdom and Global Development", the three-day event includes online and offline activities, such as academic forums, industry conferences, and research programs, focusing on cutting-edge scientific fields such as life science, digital economy and artificial intelligence. It has attracted 600 scientists and scholars from around the world.