8th of March marks the International Day of Women worldwide. A day to celebrate and recognise the great women of past, present, and future. A day to advocate for empowerment, equality, and inclusion. This year the global campaign by UN Women focuses on equality for sustainability. For a positive lasting impact on our environment, economic and social development. Each year those campaigns shed the light on the importance of equality and inclusivity, and how vital women's contributions around the world are for a better future. Women and girls are powerful activists and changemakers who are heavily involved in various sustainability initiatives around the world.
When speaking about sustainability and sustainable development, social inclusion is an essential cornerstone. Projects such as YouCount focus on social inclusion and social participation of youth in the society, with an aim to promote youth connection to their environment and increase their sense of social belonging regardless of their differences. YouCount provides a safe and inclusive space for participants of all gender to become a young co-researcher in the different parts of the project, for youth voices to be heard regardless of social status, age, or ethnicity.
" YouCount provides everyone being part of it with great opportunities for exchanges of ideas, viewpoints, research and intervention practices, knowledges, values."Flora Gatti, Post-Doctoral Fellow, YouCount Italy
With ten different cases in nine European countries, YouCount gives an opportunity for researchers, and youth to work together. Female researchers play an important role in the development and running of the project. When we asked project coordinator Reidun Norvoll on the role of female researchers in the field on sustainable development, she said:
"Being a female researcher gives you the power to make a change despite the difficulties that are faced. Along with an opportunity to inspire the younger generation on the importance of inclusivity both in everyday life and scientific communities. Having Citizen Social Science projects where the aim is to create an inclusive environment within science is yet another step for an equal future."Reidun Norvoll, Project Coordinator, YouCount Norway
International Women's Day 2022 launched the hashtag #BreakTheBias across platforms. An opportunity for people to share their story, celebrate women and raise awareness against bias. On this occasion we asked our researchers what they say to the younger girls and how to break the bias.
"For rendering science more inclusive, first, we need to break down existing social hierarchies and co-design research processes with the most vulnerable groups to best meet their social and material needs."Alexandra Czeglédi, Junior Research Fellow, YouCount Hungary
"Believe in yourself and show solidarity to others!"Sara Noémie Plassnig, YouCount Norway