The celebration of the International Day for Women and Girls in Science on 11 February 2015, by resolution of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, aims to promote equal access and participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM) and to encourage them to pursue careers in these fields.
This can be achieved by removing the barriers and stereotypes that have historically limited women's participation in STEM and by making their achievements visible. In particular, the theme adopted for the 2024 celebrations - "Women in Science Leadership: A New Era for Sustainability" - aims to raise the debate on the under-representation of women in decision-making and leadership positions in science, which is essential for achieving the three pillars of sustainable development: economic prosperity, social equity and environmental integrity.
The visibility of the work carried out by women professors, researchers or students is a commitment of NOVA that will be reinforced following the adoption of the 2021 Gender Equality Plan and will be reflected in the regular dissemination of awards, projects, publications or the successful completion of theses and dissertations. Within the NOVA universe, there are several examples of initiatives and good practices: the scientific journal Faces de Eva. Estudos sobre a Mulher, from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, has been publishing portraits, interviews and studies about foreign and Portuguese women scientists since 1999; the NOVA School of Science and Technology is one of the founding partners of the Alliance for Equality in Information and Communication Technologies; and the NOVA School of Law approved the Guidelines on Diversity, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination in September 2023 to promote gender equality and diversity in institutional events, in internal committees, juries, panels and bodies, and in the course syllabus.
"At NOVA University, we are privileged to have brilliant and innovative women researchers whose contributions have had an impact not only locally, but globally, and have underpinned much of the recognition that NOVA has today as a University of Excellence. It is therefore vital that we continue to support and inspire the participation of women and girls in science by providing an inclusive environment that embraces their aspirations, stimulates their growth and recognises their achievements. Today's celebration is a reminder of the barriers that still exist, but also a message of hope: that guaranteeing the right to equal opportunities makes a difference," says Ana Rita Marante, Administrator of NOVA University Lisbon.
NOVA is promoting the objectives of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, set for 2024, through the promotion of women's leadership in science, one of the objectives of the ULEAD4ALL project, developed by the NOVA Office for Equality and Inclusion of the NOVA Rectorate, the WLP- Women’s Leadership Program (enrolment open for the 2024 edition) or the "Women in the Blue Economy" research project of the NOVA Ocean Research Centre.