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L’OREAL-UNESCO Awards 2008 40 women scientists from around the world sign the Charter of Commitment “For Women in Science”

Nearly forty past Laureates of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards are in Paris today to sign the Charter of Commitment “For Women in Science,” the first charter designed to promote science, support the cause of women, and change the face of science in the world.

The Charter will be signed in the presence of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media, and Nagia Essayed, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union.

The L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Charter “For Women in Science”

This Charter marks the 10 years of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science. In signing the document, Award Laureates commit themselves to:

- Act as a role model to inspire future generations
- Transmit passion for scientific research
- Encourage women scientists to act as agents of change
- Strengthen and support scientific research on all continents
- Foster creativity and innovation
- Advocate for diversity and gender equity
- Build sustainable networks for women scientists
- Participate as women scientists in public policy decision making
- Shape attitudes to change the face of science
- Promote science as a source of progress

The many actions that illustrate the Laureates’ commitment include the construction in Nigeria of a university residence for young women pursuing advanced science degrees, the creation in Spain of summer science camps for young girls, and the publication of the ETAN Report on women in science by the European Technology Assessment Network.

The Charter will then be submitted to Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, Chairman of L’Oréal and of the L’Oréal corporate foundation, who will thus reaffirm their long-term dedication to promote women in science.

The 2008 Awards: distinguishing 5 eminent women in science from the 5 continents

Following the signing of the Charter of Commitment, five eminent women scientists from the five continents will receive the 10th annual L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science at UNESCO headquarters. The Awards will be presented by Mr Matsuura and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones. Each Laureate receives US $100,000. The five Laureates in life sciences, selected by an international jury presided by Professor Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1999, are:

-for Africa & Arab States: Professor Lihadh AL-GAZALI
Department of Pediatrics, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
“For her contributions to the characterization of inherited disorders.”


-for Asia-Pacific: Assistant Professor V. Narry KIM
School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
“For elucidating several key steps in the formation of a new class of gene-regulating RNA molecules.”

-for Europe: Professor Ada YONATH
Director, Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
“For her structural studies of the protein biosynthesis system and its disruption by antibiotics.”

-for Latin America: Professor Ana Belén ELGOYHEN
Institute for Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology (CONICET), University of Buenos
Aires, School of Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“For her contribution to the understanding of the molecular basis of hearing.”

-for North America: Professor Elizabeth BLACKBURN
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, USA
“For the discovery of the nature and maintenance of chromosome ends and their roles in cancer and aging.”

The L’ORÉAL Corporate Foundation, created in 2007, is committed to three areas of action: encouraging education, fostering scientific research, and creating bonds of solidarity for those in fragile circumstances. The Foundation, which presently regroups a number of major existing corporate philanthropy initiatives including the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science, will strengthen these actions and ensure their continuity, as well as develop new programs in the coming years.

L’Oréal is a worldwide leader in the cosmetics industry, developing innovative products to meet the diverse needs of customers in 130 countries worldwide. Nearly 3,000 people work in the Group’s 14 research centers, located in France, Asia and America. Their findings are responsible for the registration of hundreds of patents annually. Women represent 55% of the research workforce – a percentage unmatched anywhere else in the industry.


Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has pursued the mission of contributing to peace and security through the promotion of education, culture and science – the “S” in its acronym. Today, UNESCO reinforces international co-operation in the basic sciences among its 193 Member States and promotes ethical norms in science. The Organisation also works towards eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting equality between men and women. As well as developing educational programs in science particularly designed for girls, UNESCO has established a network of academic chairs creating links between women in science around the world.

  • 06-03-2008
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific