MILAN – L’Oréal Italia and the Italian National Commission for UNESCO recognized five young women from across Italy for their contributions to scientific research, awarding each with a 15,000-euro scholarship, worth about $17,000 at current exchange.
The winners were Micol Bellucci (Biology); Sarah D’Alessandro (Biotechnology); Maria Gnarra (Medicine and Surgery); Nadia Pieretti (Natural Sciences) and Nicoletta Protti (Physical Sciences). A jury led by oncologist Umberto Veronesi selected the promising young scientists from a pool of 360 candidates, as part of the 13th annual Women in Science awards organized by L’Oréal Italia and UNESCO; to date, 65 women in Italy have received prizes as part of the initiative.
“We are pleased to recognize these five women who each day dedicate their time and passion to science, and who, thanks to this scholarship, will be able to pursue their scientific careers and take crucial steps forward, contributing to better the lives of us all,” said Cristina Scocchia, chief executive officer of L’Oréal Italia. She noted that rising in the ranks remains challenging for women who are scientists in Italy, where men lead more than 83 percent of research institutes and departments.
“These data prove that L’Oréal and UNESCO’s efforts [to promote] gender equality in science are still necessary. And we’ll keep working on this until better results are achieved,” she said.
Giovanni Puglisi, dean of the International University of Languages and Media and president of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, expressed hope that the winners would inspire other young women in science.
“We trust that the time is near when a different kind of science will emerge, one that embraces diversity and takes on the world’s most pressing ethical challenges without fear,” he said. “Starting with young female researchers is both an investment and a message: an investment in Italian intelligence, and a message for those who still believe in the strength of reason.”
Worldwide, the L’Oréal and UNESCO For Women in Science program has supported more than 2,250 women in more than 110 countries.