Engineering has always had an essential role in development and human welfare. Ensuring that future generations of engineers and scientists will be able to design solutions for local and global challenges is critical.
UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed the 4 March World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development during its 40th session in November 2019 (40 C/64), to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life, which is essential to mitigate the impact of climate change and advance sustainable development, especially in Africa and the small island developing states (SIDS).
In spite of the importance of engineering for our life and future, women have been historically underrepresented in engineering fields, typically making up only 10 – 20% of the engineering work force. Even in countries where the numbers of women studying STI have increased, this trend has not translated into more women entering the workplace. Too many female students who graduate do not go into the engineering profession. The barriers are often connected to persistent gender stereotypes in this field, inadequate policies or educational environments that do not meet their needs and aspirations.
UNESCO is placing a high priority on activities that promote awareness of engineering as a career, as well as on those that demonstrate the importance of youth studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).