Women in science

While science needs the best minds, there is still a lot of research potential given away as too few highly qualified women work in research. In addition, research institutes worldwide are mostly led by men and there are still wage gaps between the sexes. Children are often a career disadvantage, but alone do not explain the income and responsibility differences.

In order for change to happen, female scientists are needed as role models, and targeted support to women and especially mothers. UNESCO contributes to such change through several programmes, in particular through cooperation with l'Oréal.

Since 1998, the l'Oréal UNESCO Award has highlighted the outstanding achievements of women in research. In addition, UNESCO-L'Oréal grants (Rising Talents Grants) are awarded annually to outstanding female researchers at international level. In, 2017 Dr. Kate Lee from the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, received this Rising Talent Grant.

A separate funding programme exists in Germany. The German Commission for UNESCO and l'Oréal Germany, in partnership with the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Stiftung, annually awards three grants of € 20,000 each to support excellent female doctoral and postdoctoral researchers with children from the experimental natural sciences and medicine. Through the funding, they should optimally exploit their scientific potential and gain more time for their scientific work.

The support includes a monthly budget allowance of up to € 400 for household or extra childcare to give the women scientists extra time to do their research. It also includes an individualized career development programme with components such as coaching or mentoring, and financial support earmarked for support Performance to the respective research institution.