A National Dialogue on women in science brings together stakeholders to promote women and girls participation in science

UNESCO in partnership with UNWOMEN, Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) organized "National Dialogue on Women in Science" on 11 - 12 February 2019 in LCWU Campus, Lahore, Pakistan. The event was inaugurated on 11 February 2019 that is International Day for Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring this day, to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The overall objective of the dialogue is to exchange experiences on how to achieve Gender Equality in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and contribute to progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which says, "Ensure women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life".

Officials and representatives of the Government of Pakistan, UNESCO, UNWOMEN, Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science, Lahore College for Women University and representatives from academia, relevant government departments, private institutions including corporate and development sector, civil society organizations and students participated in the event.

At the inaugural session, Dr. Shagufta Naz, Director Research, Lahore College for Women University, Mr. Salman Naveed Khan, CEO, Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science, Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative of UNWOMEN in Pakistan, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Country Representative of UNESCO in Pakistan and Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha, Federal Secretary for Human Rights spoke on the importance of women and girls involvement and participation in the science fields. There were more than 20 panelists and speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan including Senator Ms. Aeysha Raza, MNA Ms. Shandana Gulzar and Ms. Zartaj Gul Minister of State for Climate Change graced the audience and shared their experiences with the audience while highlighting the challenges for women to excel in science related fields and what government of Pakistan is doing on the it.

The two-day event comprised of five panel discussions on the related topics. The panel discussions were followed by an interactive question and answer sessions. On the recommendations of the event, a charter will also be determined to follow up on initiatives to promote women and girls in science.