STEAMER: women in STEM

For me, L’Oréal has always been cosmetics and perfume, however just ten days ago I discovered something more beautiful about the company. I came across Latvian University’s Science Café announcement exactly when I was finishing the chapter about the positive role models in science for girls.

Being into the topic I visited the Café and virtually spent a pleasant time listening to and watching four young women scientists who shared their thoughts on what it means to be a woman scientist, if there are any stereotypes about women scientists in Latvia, why we need women in science and what exactly women bring to science, and pros and cons of being a woman scientist in Latvia and in Europe.

Yes, I spent good time in the café, mostly because I enjoyed how four beautiful, talented young ladies were telling about something they like and belong to and do because it is interesting. Interesting! Science is interesting and exciting!? And here I think half of readers agree while the other half will shrug. As for me, I definitely belong to the ones who considers science as opportunity to discover, to experiment, to create, to define, to improve, to defend, to attack, to hide, to open, to see, to taste, to imagine, to destroy, TO SAVE, to love… to live to develop.

Among the young scientists (I think I should stop using the term woman scientist, as it suggests the inequality!) there were three L’Oréal Baltic laureates, so I became curious and did some research just to find about more than just cosmetics and perfume.

L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards are presented every 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 – in recognition of their scientific accomplishments. Each scientist has had a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.

The scientific fields considered for the awards alternate every other year between LifeSciences (even years) and PhysicalSciences, Mathematics and Computer Science (odd years).

Five L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureates received the Nobel Prize in their field of expertise: Christine Nusslein-Volhard and Elizabeth Blackburn in Medicine or Physiology, Ada Yonath, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in Chemistry.

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Looking for the STEM role models we often refer to history to the names such as Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, who no doubts influenced today’s science. However, the names and the stories behind the names I found while researching L’Oréal Women in Science Foundation fascinated me as much as the women scientists pioneers.

L’Oréal Baltic Prize for Women in Science Programme provided me with the names of women scientists who live and work 200 km away, which almost makes them approachable to visit, to talk, to meet. They inspire, they explain and role modelling and for nowadays girls and boys their stories are more appealing as being 10, 15, 20 years older than them!

I spent the whole evening reading about science and beautiful scientists, who love science because it is interesting. Having discovered about L’Oréal Foundation I have got more hope for our beautiful future science.


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