Research2Reality team

Take a Stand for Women in Science

L’Oréal-UNESCO launches a manifesto to combat the under-representation of women in the sciences.


Two days ago, people all over the world celebrated Ada Lovelace Day. Don’t know the name? That’s exactly the point.

Women in STEM, like Ada Lovelace, have gone unrecognized and underappreciated. Because of this, they are underrepresented in STEM careers – women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers. Ada Lovelace day was created to “increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.”

But encouragement and role models can only go so far. We need to break down the systemic barriers that prevent women from pursuing long term careers in STEM. The Equality Challenge Unit in the UK launched the Athena SWAN charter in 2005 for that very purpose. Australia picked up the same idea last year with their Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot.

And now L’Oréal-UNESCO has put out their “For Women in Science Manifesto”. Their commitments include:

  1. Encourage girls to explore scientific career paths.
  2. Break down the barriers that prevent women scientists from pursuing long term
    careers in research.
  3. Prioritise women’s access to senior positions and leadership positions in the sciences.
  4. Celebrate with the general public the contribution that women scientists
    make to scientific progress and to society.
  5. Ensure gender equality through participation and leadership in symposiums
    and scientific commissions such as conferences, committees and board meetings.
  6. Promote mentoring and networking for young scientists to enable them
    to plan and develop careers that meet their expectations.

More than 84,000 people, including Nobel Prize Winner Professor Elizabeth Blackburn (1 of 48 women with that honour) and Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO have already signed the Manifesto.

R2R Founding partners Molly Shoichet (L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science) and Mike MacMillan (founder of Mischief & Magnet focused on women writers and directors) are both dedicated to advancing the careers of women.

We signed the manifesto. Will you?

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Malgosia Pakulska is a freelance science writer, speaker, and blogger. She completed her PhD in Professor Molly Shoichet’s lab studying drug delivery systems for spinal cord regeneration after injury. She is still passionate about research and wants to share that excitement with the public. When she is not in the lab, she is experimenting in the kitchen and blogging about it at Smart Cookie Bakes.