PARIS — The Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO have revealed the winners of their 22nd International For Women in Science Awards.
The two organizations annually recognize five women scientists, each from a different continent, for their excellence in research in a range of life science fields.
“Convinced that the world needs science, and science needs women, the Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO are actively supporting women in science, in order to give them more visibility, raise awareness of their talent and inspire more women to enter science,” L’Oréal said in a statement.
Each winner will be awarded 100,000 euros and be recognized along with 15 young female scientists at a ceremony held on March 12 in UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
This year’s laureates are:
- Abla Mehio Sibai, representing the Africa and Arab states, for her research and advocacy for better healthy aging in low and middle income countries and its bearing on health and social policies and programs;
- Firdausi Qadri, representing the Asia-Pacific region, for her work to understand and prevent infectious diseases among children in developing countries, and promote early diagnosis and vaccination;
- Edith Heard, representing Europe, for her findings of mechanisms governing epigenetic processes allowing mammals to regulate proper gene expression;
- Esperanza Martínez-Romero, representing Latin America, for her work on employing friendly bacteria to support plant growth for improved agricultural output while reducing chemical fertilizer use, and
- Kristi Anseth, representing North America, for her development of innovative biomaterials to help promote tissue regeneration and more effective drug delivery.
Since the launch of the For Women in Science in 1998, the program has acknowledged and supported 112 laureates and more than 3,300 young women scientists in 118-plus countries.
Worldwide, women represent just 29 percent of researchers, according to a UNESCO report. Men hold 89 percent of senior academic posts in Europe, a Boston Consulting Group study for the Fondation L’Oréal noted, and only 3 percent of Nobel Prizes for Science have been granted to women.
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This year, the International For Women in Science program will recognize female scientists in the life science fields of biotechnology, ecology, epigenetics, epidemiology and infectiology.