International Women’s Day

UN Women, UNESCO and EGNATCOM Join Forces to Shrink the Online Knowledge Gap on Women in Science and Technology

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2019

a group photo during "Her Story" event in celebration of Internation Women's Day
A group photo during "Her Story" event. Photo: UN Women/Emad Karim


Cairo, 11 March 2019 – In celebration of International Women’s Day, UN Women in partnership with UNESCO and the Egyptian National Commission for Education, Science and Culture (EGNATCOM) joined forces to enhance the quality of information on women in science and technology, especially on Arabic Wikipedia through an innovative “edit-a-thon” for young men and women that took place last Saturday, March 9th, at the UNESCO and EGNATCOM premises. This event is part of the “#HerStory” and “Wiki4Women” initiatives.

The day started with opening remarks delivered by Mrs. Zainab El Wakeel, Assistant Secretary-General, Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO, Dr. Bisher Imam, Senior Programme Specialists for Water Sciences, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in the Arab States , Ms. Maha Rateb, Communication and Advocacy Analyst, UN Women.

According to Dr Ghaith Fariz, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States, “#Wiki4Women reflects UNESCO’s commitment to making a positive and lasting contribution to women's empowerment and gender equality. By ensuring the digital existence of these female role models, providing every woman and girl with medial and information literacy and fostering an online environment free of harassment and hatred UNESCO is working to create sustainable and inclusive knowledge societies”.

“The presidential announcement of the year 2017 as the year dedicated for women represented a real opportunity to assess the position and achievements of Egyptian women in all fields. In view of this assessment, EGNATCOM considers the annual celebration of the IWD as an important pillar for the enhancement of the role of Egyptian women in achieving sustainable development goals 2030 as well as an indispensable opportunity for policy and decision makers to renew their interest in endorsing Egyptian women.” Stated Prof. Dr. Ghada Abdelbary, Secretary-General of the Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO

“As of today, the percentage of articles related to women on Arabic Wikipedia, is only 4.2% of all articles about humans, while the global gap rate is 15%. Therefore, we strongly believe in the importance of initiatives like Her Story and Wiki4Women to address the online gender gap and engage young volunteers’ participation to address the issue. Through our theme for IWD this year “Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change”, we believe that women’s participation in innovation and technology should be the norm and not the exception. As we support the implementation of Egypt’s Vision 2030, we must make sure that, digital solutions - probably the most impactful innovations to accelerate progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, are fundamental drivers of reducing gender gap” stated Ms. Blerta Aliko; UN Women Country Representative

May Hachem, founder of "Her Story" showing volunteers how to add content to wikipedia.
May Hachem, founder of "Her Story" showing one of the volunteers how to add content to wikipedia. Photo: UN Women/Eman Karim

More than 130 young men and women from Cairo participated in the “edit-a-thon” through which they received training on editing and writing Arabic content on women in science and technology. During the event, volunteers submitted a number of biographies of female leaders in STEM for reviewing and posting on Wikipedia Arabic website.

The event also included inspirational talks by women leaders in the fields of science and technology such as Dr. Abeer Shakweer; ICT Minister’s Advisor for Social Responsibility and Services; Dr. Esraa El-Bably; First Hearing-Impaired Dentist; Dr. Heba Saleh; Chairwoman, Information Technology Institute.

"My life is the experience of a girl who hears with her eyes and hopes not only to be a dentist, but to be like any other person who has the freedom to choose his/her future and not to be forced to take a specific path through which he/she cannot find himself/herself” stated Dr. Esraa El Bably during her talk through which she shared her inspirational story with the young female and male volunteers.

About “Her Story” Initiative

HerStory is a youth-led initiative the UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States launched in 2016 to increase the number of articles focusing on women on Wikipedia. It aims to address the absence or minimization in historical records of women and the key roles they have played in history, politics, science, technology, leadership and religion.

About “#Wiki4Women“ Initiative

UNESCO’s #WIKI4WOMEN initiative invites everyone to take a few minutes of their time to create, enrich or translate, in as many languages as possible, Wikipedia profiles of women. The global edit-a-thon honors women who have excelled in the fields of education, science, culture, social and human sciences, or communication and information and makes their significant contributions

visible to society.

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. /


UNESCO is the UN Specialized Agency responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. It strengthens the ties between nations and societies, and mobilizes the wider public so that each child and citizen has access to quality education to grow and live in a cultural environment rich in diversity and dialogue. UNESCO also works to protect universal human values and ensure that all can fully benefit from scientific advances.,


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For more information please contact:

UN Women:

Maha Rateb, UN Women/Cairo, Tel. +202 23240556, Mobile +201060501726, email:


Pau Hector, UNESCO, Tel + 20 (2) 38268913-8 e-mail:

Omar Abdel-Gawad, Tel: +20 (2) 38268913-8 e-mail: