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Sunday, June 17, 2018

L'Oreal: Empowering Women in Science

Gender equality has always been a challenge especially for talented women in a very patriarchal society. Admit it, even if we are in a modern society, talented women, especially those in scientific research always seem to take a backseat because of the male domination ideology.

But things are changing and even if it started with just a whisper, women are now being accepted in the usually male dominated work of scientific research. Of course, we all know that there more than a handful of women who excelled in that particular field but women should be heard and acknowledge.



In 1998, L'Oreal teamed up with UNESCO and co-founded the For Women in Science (FWIS), which aims to empower more women in the field of sciences by increasing the number of women in the scientific research. The FWIS also encourages young women to enter that particular profession, and help them as their careers progresses.


From its launch 20 years ago, the FWIS has supported more than 3,000 women from 117 countries, celebrated 102 renowned scientists at the peak of their career including three who won the Nobel Prize. In the Philippines, Dr. Lourdes Cruz, a recipient of FWIS, won a Global Laureate in 2010 for her work with snail toxins. Four other Filipina scientists were awarded as National Fellows in 2011 and 2012.


Last June 5, 2018 marked a milestone for the Philippines as FWIS makes a full circle and returns to the country to award the newest FWIS National Fellow. This is also in line with L'Oreal's commitment to empower women especially those in the scientific research field.

"We have been immensely proud of the work of our Laureates, Fellows and all the awardees across various fields, each proving to be vital in contributing towards sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability. They all serve as testament to our belief that women in science truly have the power to change the world," said Ms. Carmel Valencia, Corporate Communications Manager of L'Oreal Philippines.

Aside from the awarding ceremony, the event also highlighted a forum that tackled the different challenges of gender inequality in the field of science, the need to recognize women's contribution in various fields, and underscored the critical need for their full participation in driving the sustainable development agenda.

This year's FWIS program also witnessed the 6-point manifesto signing between the representatives from L'Oreal, UNESCO, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Department of Science and Technology, and the scientific community. This is in response to the commitment drive that aims to increase women participation and success particularly in the field of science.

Dr. Charissa Ferrera, the FWIS 2018 Philippine National Fellow whose scientific research about the effects of varying conditions of selected coral reef areas in the Philippines- specifically National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) sites which pushes for marine life and its need for environmental sustainability.

"I see my win as an opportunity to create a ripple effect that will allow for more individuals to be inspired to pursue careers in science," said Dr. Ferrera. "Look for opportunities because they are there and do not be afraid to ask. Always go for what you want and keep going no matter the circumstance."






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