Five leading women scientists and 15 promising young researchers were honoured yesterday at the 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ceremony at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris.
Irina Bokova, director-general of Unesco and Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and chairman of the L’Oréal Foundation, took the opportunity to launch the For Women in Science Manifesto. Already signed by numerous guests of the ceremony, the Manifesto aims to take a stand against the under-representation of women in the sciences.
For the past 18 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program has encouraged, promoted and honoured women scientists all over the world. More than 2,500 researchers from 112 countries have been distinguished for their extraordinary discoveries and supported at key moments in their careers.
Every year, five eminent women scientists and 15 young researchers from all continents are recognised by their peers and awarded before the general public at the international L’Oréal-UNESCO Ceremony. The 18th edition of the For Women in Science Awards Ceremony was held at the Maison de la Mutualité.
“Our changing world has never been in greater need of women and their discoveries. With the For Women in Science program, the L’Oréal Foundation is committed to promoting these women in science who will change the world. We are determined to fight for science and to build a more beautiful world together,” says Agon.
Since its foundation, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has worked to ensure that women are fairly represented at all levels in science. However, the current situation indicates that much remains to be done with regard to gender balance in science. Most tellingly, women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers.
“The UNESCO Science Report shows that the gender disparity is still very evident, particularly in the natural sciences. More equality and parity in the sciences means more opportunities to achieve scientific excellence, which is UNESCO’s mission,” explains Bokova.
The 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards concluded with the launch of the For Women in Science Manifesto: a true opinion campaign aimed at engaging the scientific community, the institutional and the general public to step up the pace of change for women in the sciences.
The six commitments of the For Women in Science Manifesto are:
* Encourage girls to explore scientific career paths
* Break down the barriers that prevent women scientists from pursuing long term careers in research
* Prioritise women’s access to senior positions and leadership positions in the sciences
* Celebrate with the general public the contribution that women scientists make to scientific progress and to society
* Ensure gender equality through participation and leadership in symposiums and scientific commissions, such as conferences, committees and board meetings
* Promote mentoring and networking for young scientists to enable them to plan and develop careers that meet their expectations