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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
L'Oréal and UNESCO making a real difference for women scientists worldwide
2004 For women in science awards and fellowships announced
Editorial Contact:
  • Media Rel. Agency: RUDER FINN, Mai TRAN, Frédérique IMPENNATI. Tel.: +33 (0)1 56 81 15 00 fimpennati@ruderfinn.fr
  • L’ORÉAL: Dir. of Partnerships & Philanthropy. Tel.: + 33 (0)1 47 56 42 55 - Fwis-infos@dgc.loreal.com
  • UNESCO: Press Ser. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48 www.unesco.org
  • L’ORÉAL: Corporate Press Ser. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 56 41 95
  • 08-03-2004 9:30 am Five outstanding world-class women scientists named L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Laureates in recognition of their contribution to scientific research.
    Fifteen promising young researchers around the world, the future scientific leaders of tomorrow, receive Fellowships to carry out promising international research projects. L’ORÉAL and UNESCO announced today the five Award Laureates, one from each continent, and 15 Fellowship beneficiaries of the 2004 “For Women in Science” programme.

    The L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership, now in its sixth edition, is a unique example of how the private sector and an intergovernmental institution can work together to recognize the achievements of women scientists and raise the profile of women in science globally. Since the programme’s creation in 1998, 91 women scientists from 45 countries have been recognized for excellence in research or received encouragement to pursue their careers.

    The L’OREAL-UNESCO Award Laureates, women who work across the spectrum of Life Sciences from cellular biology to immunology and disease prevention, were selected on the basis of their groundbreaking achievements and potential contributions to scientific progress. The Laureates receive individual awards of $100,000.

    More than 800 prominent scientists from around the world nominated the candidates. The Award Laureates were then selected by an international jury of 15 eminent members of the scientific community, led by Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine and Founding President of the Awards.

    The 2004 Award Laureates, one from each continent, who have led scientific advances in fields as diverse as T-Cell research, agricultural productivity, neuroscience, genetics and parasitic disease, are:
  • Africa – Jennifer Thomson (South Africa): “For her development of transgenic plants resistant to viral infections, drought, and other risks.”
  • Asia-Pacific – Nancy Ip (China): “For her discoveries on the molecular control of
    growth, differentiation, and synapse formation in the nervous system.”
  • Europe – Christine Petit (France): “For her elucidation of the genetic defects in hereditary deafness and other sensory disorders.”
  • Latin America – Lucia Mendonça Previato (Brazil): “For her achievements in the
    understanding, treatment and prevention of Chagas disease.”
  • North America – Philippa Marrack (USA): “For her characterization of the functions of T lymphocytes in immunity and the discovery of superantigens.”

    There is a long-standing imbalance between men and women in scientific research. Women not only remain under-represented in scientific professions, but those women who do enter the field often find that they receive less support and fewer promotions than their male peers, resulting in a loss for society in general.

  • According to the Greenfield Report 2002 (commissioned by the UK government), fewer than ten percent of senior scientific research positions in any country are held by women.
  • The European Commission’s ETAN Expert Working Group on Women and Science reported in 2000 that women make up less than seven percent of full science professors, five percent of academy members and have a very small proportion of senior scientific positions in six Member States.
  • Another European Commission report this year points out that although women obtain nearly 40 percent of all PhDs (even more in the Life Sciences) in the European Union, only 15 percent of industrial researchers in Europe are women.

    New research from UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics (based in Montréal, Canada) reinforces these findings by comparing the percentages of women with undergraduate, masters and postgraduate degrees in science and technology (S&T) in about 70 countries. For example, in Japan, 18 percent of S&T postgraduates are women and the figures fall to 15 percent in New Zealand compared to 38 percent in Turkey. While these low rates are the norm, there are some startling exceptions, particularly in Latin America, where women make up 60 percent of S&T postgraduates in El Salvador and 59 percent in Argentina.

    At the same time as the Awards, the 15 UNESCO-L’OREAL Fellows for 2004 were also announced. The Fellowship beneficiaries, promising young women scientists, receive grants of $20,000 each to support research projects that they will conduct at major academic centers around the world at the doctorate or post-doctorate level.

    The UNESCO-L’ORÉAL Fellowships encourage promising young women scientists to pursue their research in laboratories outside their country of origin. The 15 2004 fellows (three each from these regions: Africa, Arab States, Asia & the Pacific, Europe & North America, and Latin America & the Caribbean) were chosen by the Fellowship Selection Committee in Paris from among the candidates proposed by UNESCO National Commissions.

    Mauritius: Bibi Rehana Jauhangeer – Molecular Microbiology
    Nigeria: Maryam Aminu – Virology
    U.R. of Tanzania: Blandina Lugendo – Marine Biology

    Arab States
    Lebanon: Ghinwa Naja – Physical Chemistry
    Syrian Arab Republic: Mouna Al-Sabbagh – Biotechnology
    Yemen: Salwa Hamid Al Khayat – Microbiology

    Asia & the Pacific
    New Zealand: Diana Webster – Medical Science
    Indonesia: Ines Atmosukarto – Microbiology
    Pakistan: Farzana Shaheen – Chemistry

    Europe & North America
    Croatia: Silvia Bilokapic – Molecular Biology
    Romania: Elena Luminita Bradatan – Medicine/Oncology
    Turkey: Semra Aygün – Molecular Biology

    Latin America & the Caribbean
    Argentina: María Laura Guichón – Ecology
    Mexico: Rosa Estela Navarro – Developmental Biology
    Venezuela: María Teresa Abreu – Cellular Biology

    In addition to the 2004 Laureates and Fellows, the programme “For Women in Science” is active throughout the year. In cooperation with UNESCO National Commissions, L’Oréal subsidiaries around the world have established national initiatives as offshoots of the international programme. These include national fellowships for women scientists in their countries, educational or mentoring programmes to introduce young women and girls to careers in science, as well as related conferences and seminars.

    L’Oréal is the world’s number one cosmetics company, present in 130 countries worldwide. Nearly 2,900 people work in L’Oréal’s 14 research centers in France, Asia and America, which are responsible for the registration of over 500 patents annually. Fifty five percent are women – a percentage unmatched anywhere else in the industry (www.loreal.com

    Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has been dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting gender equality. While designing formal and non formal science education programmes specifically for girls, UNESCO has set up a series of networks linking women scientists around the world. The Organization is also developing new indicators to measure women's access to scientific training and to help develop appropriate policies in its 190 Member States (www.unesco.org/science/women).

    For further information or to arrange interviews with the laureates and fellows, please contact: www.forwomeninscience.com

  • Source Press Release No 2004 - 20
    Author(s) UNESCOPRESS

     ID: 19025 | guest (Read) Updated: 09-03-2004 11:57 am | © 2003 - UNESCO - Contact