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Five exceptional female scientists win awards from L'Oreal-UNESCO

By Li Chunyan For China Daily | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-30 23:10

Yan Nieng receives the 2024 L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards at the ceremony and poses for a photo with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay (left) and L'Oreal Group Chairman Jean-Paul Agon. [Photo provided to China Daily]

She is also a staunch advocate for gender equality in research and science education. She has organized an annual forum for female scientists since 2015, and she has gradually recruited more female principal investigators in the two research institutions she leads – Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation and Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, where more than half of the managers are women.

"I have a message for all the girls and everyone watching this: being a female scientist can be challenging, but not to the extent that anyone should be stopped. So, be brave, be yourself!" Yan said at the conclusion of her speech.

In 1998, L'Oreal Group and UNESCO jointly initiated the For Women in Science program and established the corresponding awards, which have recognized 132 laureates over the past 26 years. To date, the program has supported more than 4,400 female researchers from in excess of 110 countries, rewarding scientific excellence and inspiring younger generations of women to pursue science as a career.

"In a world where science is essential in rising to contemporary challenges, we need to harness all talents," Azoulay wrote in a congratulatory letter. "But even today, only one in every three researchers is a woman, and this figure falls to almost one in 10 in the artificial intelligence sector, resulting in numerous gender biases in emerging technologies."

She added that she believes "the world needs science, and science needs women".

"Giving women scientists the place they deserve in research, fighting against the obstacles they encounter, inspiring future generations of young girls to pursue a scientific career, contributes directly to the progress and improved wellbeing of the majority," Agon wrote in a congratulatory letter.

"More than ever, the Fondation L'Oreal is taking action alongside women in science so that they can continue to advance the boundaries of knowledge, accelerate scientific progress and amplify their impact."

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