By Godfrey Olukya 25-3-2016
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.
A statement issued by L’Oréal Group,said that 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, this 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 recognized 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,” stated Jean-Paul 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,” explained Irina 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. Jean-Paul Agon, Irina Bokova, and this year’s
President of the Jury, former Laureate and Nobel Prize winner,
Elizabeth Blackburn, all took the stage to sign the Manifesto. Each of
the Laureates and International Rising Talents, as well as the
numerous guests in attendance also signed their names to ensure the
visibility and public support necessary, so that everyone involved can
work together towards gender equality in the sciences.