L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards 2022
Published: Jul 07, 2022 08:59 PM
The 15 laureates from 2020, 2021 to 2022 Photo: Courtesy of  L'ORéAL Foundation

The 15 laureates from 2020, 2021 to 2022 Photo: Courtesy of L'ORéAL Foundation

On June 24, 2022, the L'ORÉAL Foundation and UNESCO hosted the first ceremony For Women in Science since the emergence of COVID-19 in Paris. This ceremony celebrated the 15 recipients of its International Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and the 30 International Rising Talents awarded in 2020 and 2022. After being canceled twice due to public health concerns, the year 2022's ceremony was particularly celebratory and unique.
A unique global reunion of women scientists
The ceremony honored and awarded 15 eminent laureates from various fields in Life and Environmental sciences, Physical Science, Mathematics and Computer Science on June 23 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Each awardee had dedicated her life to combating one or many severe challenges facing the world today.

The awardees also featured the 30 young female scientists who received the title of International Rising Talents. Together, they represent the younger generation of scientists solving important challenges and speaking up for change.

During the ceremony, the extraordinary contribution of Women in Science was celebrated among a distinguished audience, including representatives of science, academics, opinion leaders, politicians, members of public authorities, and organizations promoting gender equality and women empowerment. 

The event started with a foreword by the L'ORÉAL Foundation 's president, Jean-Paul Agon, and UNESCO's director-general, Audrey Azoulay, on the importance of this year's reunion to remind the world how vital women scientists and their work are for our common future.

Professor and 2020 Laureate Edith Heard, delivered a speech on behalf of the 15 laureates, to emphasize the need for more women to become involved science. "We are still in the minority and lack the critical mass to advocate effectively for our needs. This must change. Science must be open to all - regardless of gender, nationality, race, or culture. And there's no time to lose. Diversity is enriching - it powers innovation and delivers better results. More women in a team lead to better performance, greater creativity, and new possibilities." 

The world needs science and science needs women 
The world is facing unparalleled challenges: climate change, resource shortages, health risks, and the COVID-19 pandemic, among many other mounting world issues. Selected during the past three years, the women awarded this week by the L'ORÉAL-UNESCO program have already proven how transformative they can be in addressing these challenges. 

By celebrating 45 outstanding female researchers from all over the world at this unique ceremony, the Foundation L'ORÉAL and UNESCO have stood out to reward and show their full support to women scientists whose work has been so instrumental during these incredibly trying times. These women are often subject to "invisibilization," marginalization, inequalities, biases, in addition to systemic barriers. Their presence in Paris this week marked the perfect occasion to recognize their meaningful contributions while reminding the world that the gender gap remains.