Sun, 03 Dec 2023

DUBAI, 21st September, 2023 (WAM) -- The L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Middle East Regional Young Talents Programme, in partnership with Khalifa University of Science and Technology, celebrated a decade of empowering female scientists from the GCC in the fields of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, who have blazed trails and are changing the landscape of scientific discovery in the region.

Since its inception in the GCC in 2014, the programme has made prodigious strides in nurturing and furthering the research endeavours of 51 female Arab scientists by awarding endowments totalling AED 3.4 million and supporting their professional growth.

Among them are several scientists who have also received international recognition, with five going on to win the International Rising Talents Awards, and another four scientists receiving the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award, as well.

The regional programme is part of L'Oreal-UNESCO's global For Women in Science initiative that has already recognized over 4,100 phenomenal researchers and more than 127 International Laureates from more than 110 countries since its inception in 1998.

The ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary awarded 11 visionary researchers from the GCC underscoring their pivotal role in advancing knowledge, finding solutions to pressing global issues, and pushing the boundaries of scientific understanding.

For the fifth year in a row, the programme has been endorsed by Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency.

Al Amiri said, "The extraordinary accomplishments and dedication of women scientists in the region have paved the way for progress in various fields, influencing everything from healthcare and technology to environment sustainability and space exploration. Initiatives like the one by the Foundation L'Oreal and UNESCO have been empowering female game-changers, encouraging more women into STEM careers, and paving the way toward diversity. Such programmes create a necessary foundation in our pursuit for scientific progress, innovation and a more inclusive society."

STEM is regarded as critical to national economies, yet most countries, no matter what their level of development have not achieved gender equality in these fields. At the end of the 1990s, women represented 27 percent of researchers worldwide. In 2014, that increased to 30 percent. While there has been a gradual increase in the number of women pursuing scientific careers, they are still disproportionately underrepresented in the domain of research.

According to the latest UNESCO Science report, even today, just one in three researchers is a woman, and this drops by nearly half at a senior level. Additionally, less than 4 percent of women have been awarded a Nobel Prize for Science.

These unsettling figures continue to propel the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme, which was established on the ethos that 'The world needs science and science needs women'. The programme was created to break down barriers to progress for women in STEM and provide them with the tools to succeed.

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