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L’Oreal-Unesco International Award ‘For Women in Science’ 2022

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On the days of 22 and 23 June, the L’Oréal Foundation and Unesco celebrated 45 eminent female scientists from over 35 countries and from all regions of the world with two unprecedented awards ceremonies organized at the Unesco headquarters in Paris, on the occasion of the “For Women in Science” International Award. For science, the last three years have been one of the most challenging moments in recent history. Women have found themselves at the forefront of dealing with unprecedented issues related to climate change, disease and health crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Although essential in dealing with the emergencies of today’s world, female scientists still lack sufficient visibility and numerical representation. From 20 June and throughout the week, Paris has become the meeting point of some of the world’s leading scientific minds. A series of events, including an Extraordinary Lecture at the Academy of Sciences and networking activities, allowed these brilliant scientists to confront each other, up to the Award Ceremonies that were held on 22 and 23 June at the ‘UNESCO. The Ceremony of 23 June welcomed the “Graduates” of the last three editions, 15 extraordinary researchers who received the L’Oréal-Unesco International Award “For Women in Science” in recognition of the important scientific achievements achieved in recent years, while in the Ceremony of 22 June 30 young female scientists, selected in 2020 and 2022, were awarded the title “International Rising Talents” and internationally recognized for their talent. According to data recently collected by UNESCO, the number of women embarking on a career scientific research reports limited growth, with only one in three researchers being a woman globally. In the world of research, the “glass ceiling” is still present: in Europe only 14% 2 of top academic positions are held by women and only 4% of the Nobel Prizes in Science went to a woman. Alexandra Palt, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer of L’Oréal and CEO of the L’Oréal Foundation, you said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen how the role of female scientists is essential to respond to the threats that undermine our health, society and the planet. Nonetheless, women continue to lack visibility and often face enormous obstacles in the course of their careers and research studies. This situation is the result of systemic barriers, unconscious preconceptions and self-censorship, but also of discrimination. It is not a problem that affects only women: it is a problem for research. To be meaningful, research must be inclusive and field all the talents available “. According to Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences: “Many of the emerging talents we celebrate this year excel in fields that will be critical to the decarbonisation of our future, such as energy storage systems, hydrogen power and quantum optics, a field of study that is paving the way for more energy efficient computers. However, many of their peers engaged in equally strategic fields do not receive the recognition they deserve. As the UN agency in charge of science, UNESCO has made gender equality a priority and is strongly committed to eliminating inequalities. The L’OréalUNESCO partnership ‘For Women in Science’ is an excellent example of positive action in this field, aimed at giving a voice and visibility to female scientists and their achievements to respond to the challenges of our century ”. Since its inception in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program has rewarded and supported 3,900 female scientists and continues to mobilize to ensure that these women receive the recognition they deserve. These brilliant researchers have contributed significantly to their respective fields of science and to find effective solutions to some of the most pressing and urgent challenges we are facing as a global society. This year’s event will be an opportunity to praise them for the work they have done and for the many obstacles they have been able to overcome.

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