‘Women still under-represented in science, tech’
Topic: GS–II: Social Justice
Women remain considerably under-represented across STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies and careers, says UNESCO.
More in news:
- That’s because most young women do not identify with STEM and assume these subjects won’t align with their desire to be creative and make an impact in the world.
- Experts call it a detrimental trend as it would further widen the gender gap in the technology world. Also, by shying away from STEM studies or careers, women will only be miss contributing to the next generation of technologies and innovations.
- According to the UNESCO, 29% of those in science research and development are women, with a low 19% in south and west Asia and a high 48% in central Asia.
- Microsoft has an initiative to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and the technology major has been working to get students and young women excited about STEM subjects.
Study pinpoints source of ozone-depleting gas
Topic: GS-III: Environment
The new study published in the journal Nature says that emissions of a gas that harms the ozone layer are coming from eastern China, primarily from two heavily industrialized provinces, an international team of researchers said on Wednesday.
More in news:
- The findings confirm what many scientists, environmental groups and policymakers had suspected after an initial study a year ago reported new global emissions of the gas, CFC-11, but could only locate the source generally as East Asia.
- The new research will add to international pressure on the Chinese government to curtail the illegal use of CFC-11.
- It also confirms the results of several investigations, including one by The New York Times, which found evidence that factories in Shandong, one of the provinces specified in the study, were still making or using the gas to manufacture foam insulation.
- CFC-11 is one of a class of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons that destroy atmospheric ozone. They are also potent greenhouse gases that contribute to atmospheric warming.
- Chlorofluorocarbons were outlawed for almost all uses by the Montreal Protocol, an international pact negotiated decades ago to preserve the layer of ozone that blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- Excessive amounts of some types of UV radiation can cause skin cancer and eye damage in people and are harmful to crops and other vegetation.
- After the initial study last year, China denied that there were serious violations of the ban on the chemical, but also promised to eradicate any illegal production.
- It is an international treaty designed to protect ozone layer by phasing out production of numerous Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) that are responsible for ozone depletion.
- It was agreed on 26 August 1987 in Montreal, Canada and entered into force on 26 August 1989.
- It is legally binding on member countries. It has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history.
- It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.
- It has helped in recovering the ozone hole in Antarctica.
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