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Building peace in the minds of men and women

L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme

A pioneering programme for the promotion of women in science

UNESCO and the Fondation L’Oréal seek to recognise women researchers who, through the scope of their work, have contributed to overcoming today's global challenges. Today, only 33% of researchers are women1. Stereotypes conceal a significant part of scientific history and perpetuate gender inequality in the access to these fields of study and careers. We cannot afford to deprive ourselves of the talents of half of humanity: women advance science, and science advances the world.

Faced with global challenges such as the acceleration of new technologies, aging populations or the threat to biodiversity, UNESCO and L’Oréal remain convinced that these women researchers will have a major impact on society and lay the foundations for the future. As such, UNESCO and L’Oréal want to contribute to their recognition and provide them with the means to continue their commitment to science with energy and passion.

L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Festival

Despite the clear need for more scientists to tackle existential threats to our health, society and the planet, women scientists continue to encounter tremendous obstacles in their careers.
To demonstrate how much science needs diversity and inclusion, the Fondation L'Oréal and UNESCO organized this unique event to champion women in science, technology and innovation, and to celebrate some of the world’s most inspiring female leaders in science.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards have recognized 122 laureates, exceptional women who have made great advances in scientific research. Five of them have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

Each year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme highlights scientific excellence and encourages talent through:

  • The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards, given each year to five outstanding women scientists – one per each of the following regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America – for the contributions of their research, the strength of their commitments and their impact on society.
  • The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents. Granted annually to 15 promising young women scientists at the doctoral or post-doctoral level, they encourage international scientific cooperation and the development of cross-cultural networks.
  • The L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science national and regional Young Talents Programmes. Implemented by L’Oréal subsidiaries around the world with the support of UNESCO National Commissions and Field Offices, the network of National and Regional Programmes aims to promote and encourage young women researchers who represent the future of science, helping them to pursue their research in institutions at home or abroad.

To date, the For Women in Science Programme has supported more than 3,900 women in over 115 countries. It has become a benchmark of scientific excellence on an international scale. It brings visibility to outstanding women scientists and thus provides strong role models to girls and young women considering science careers.

1 UNESCO Science Report: the race against time for smarter development, 2021.