Rachel Morgan, a 2020 Amelia Earhart Fellow, stands next to the Deformable Mirror Demonstration Mission (DeMi) satellite right before it got delivered to launch. She worked on modeling and aligning the optical payload and leading integration and environmental testing for this project. 

Zonta International's statement on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021

There has always been a significant gender gap at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines around the world. Currently, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.

On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities.

Zonta International has supported women in STEM since 1938 when it launched the Amelia Earhart Fellowship. At that time, so few women were in the field that it took two years to find a qualified candidate. More than 80 years later, we have presented 1,638 fellowships, totaling more than US$10.6 million, to 1,209 fellows from 73 countries. Click here to read more about the history of the program.

"As a two-time Amelia Earhart Fellow, I experienced and benefited from Zonta's support of women in STEM," said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck. "Today, we remain committed to empowering women to pursue careers in science and technology through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship and our new pilot Women in Technology Scholarship."

Zonta International's Women in Technology Scholarship, a pilot program launched in 2019, is currently accepting applications. The scholarship aims to encourage women to pursue education, career opportunities and leadership roles in information technology.

The United Nations' theme for this year's International Day of Women and Girls in Science is "Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19."

The UN said that the COVID-19 outbreak "has clearly demonstrated the critical role of women researchers in different stages of the fight against COVID-19, from advancing the knowledge on the virus, to developing techniques for testing, and finally to creating the vaccine against the virus."

The COVID-19 pandemic also had a significant negative impact on female scientists—particularly those in the beginning stages of their career—which contributed to "widening the existing gender gap in science and revealing the gender disparities in the scientific system," according to the UN.

This year's celebration will bring together experts working in fields related to the pandemic from different parts of the world. The event will take place online at 1 PM CST on 11 February. A simultaneous interpretation of the debates will be provided in English and French.

In addition to Zonta's two educational programs that support women in aerospace engineering and space sciences and information technology, we fully support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to achieve gender equality by 2030. Zonta International encourages its members to promote and donate to our education programs, as well as plan advocacy and awareness programs surrounding the SDGs.

11 FEBRUARY 2020