Science is in need of the brightest minds. Yet, too few women are working in research; where there are many, they hardly hold the top positions. Most research institutes are still managed by men. Unequal gender opportunities can be seen from differences in career progression and in income. Career breaks to have children may explain some differences in remuneration and responsibility, but prejudices, old-boys-networks and other “invisible“ factors are more important.
There is no simple answer to obtaining equal opportunity: Women scientists are needed as role models, women, especially young mothers, need dedicated funding. UNESCO contributes to progress in this field by several projects and programmes. The most important is the L’Oréal-UNESCO-Award for Women in Science: Since 1998 the Award highlights extraordinary achievements of women in research. A parallel scholarship programme encourages the international mobility of women researchers.
"For Women in Science" in Germany
In Germany since 2006, UNESCO, L’Oréal Deutschland and the Christine Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation support excellent women researchers having children with three national awards annually. The awardees and their current host institutions both receive financial support, each 10,000 Euro. The research institutions are obliged to use the money in accordance with the objectives of the grant programme, e.g. to improve the child care facilities in its premises. More information