Tuesday, June 19, 2018

L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science: Advocating Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

Hello po! I love sci-fi flicks and nature programs. Astronauts exploring outer space for another planet to inhabit, or archaeologists digging up ancient sites to find relics, or doctors researching to understand the behavior of creatures and discovering new species. These are all interesting- to know about our past, our history, and on the other hand, to explore possibilities into the future and invent new technology for a better world. I think that our brilliant women scientists and engineers rock!

But then, I noticed that women in that field are always outnumbered by men. That is why I was glad to know about L’Oréal-UNESCO efforts and commitment!

L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science: Advocating Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

Tackling the greatest challenges of the Agenda for Sustainable Development will depend on harnessing all talent. And today, more than ever, science and gender equality are equally vital to drive sustainable development. Despite this truth, women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers, and with even lower percentages at higher decision-making levels. 

In response, L’Oréal and UNESCO founded the For Women in Science (FWIS) program in 1998 with the mission to  empower  more women in the field of sciences by increasing the number of women in scientific research, promoting more young women to enter the profession, and to assist them once their careers are in progress.


 Tackling the greatest challenges of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, will depend on harnessing all talent, and today, more than ever, science and gender equality are equally vital to drive sustainable development. Despite this truth, women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers, and with even lower percentages at higher decision-making levels.
L’Oreal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO founded the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program.

Since the launch of FWIS, the program has supported more than 3,100 women scientists from 117 countries, and celebrated 102 renowned scientists at the peak of their careers including three who have won a Nobel Prize. The program has increased the visibility, career opportunities, and self-confidence of women scientists across the world. 


In response, L’Oréal and UNESCO founded the For Women in Science (FWIS) program in 1998 with the mission to  empower  more women in the field of sciences by increasing the number of women in scientific research, promoting more young women to enter the profession, and to assist them once their careers are in progress.


Since the launch of FWIS, the program has supported more than 3,100 women scientists from 117 countries, and celebrated 102 renowned scientists at the peak of their careers including three who have won a Nobel Prize. The program has increased the visibility, career opportunities, and self-confidence of women scientists across the world.

The Philippines has had the privilege of seeing Dr. Lourdes Cruz win as a Global Laureate (2010) for her work with snail toxins, and has had four Filipina scientists awarded as National Fellows (2011 and 2012).

June 5, 2018 marks a milestone for the Philippines as FWIS celebrates the return of the program in the Country through the awarding of the newest FWIS National Fellow. The program’s return to the Philippines cements L’Oréal’s strong commitment to pushing women empowerment and leadership in science in the Philippines. 

“The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program was founded with the mission to ensure that critical research across various fields in science takes full advantage of the intelligence, creativity, and passion of women,” shares Ms. Carmel Valencia, Corporate Communications Manager of L’Oréal Philippines.


Carmel Valencia, Corporate Communications Manager of L’Oréal Philippines.

"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,” she asserts.

More than just an awarding ceremony, the forum tackled the multifaceted challenges of gender inequality in the field of science, recognized women’s contributions across various fields, and underscored the critical need for their full participation in driving the sustainable development agenda.

To solidify their commitment to drive increased women participation and success in the field of science, a six-point manifesto was signed by representatives from L’Oréal, UNESCO, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and the scientific community.

The forum also featured distinguished panel speakers and women leaders from the scientific moderated by Ms. Rina Jimenez-David including Dr. Didith Rodrigo, Scientist and Author of “Women in Science” Children’s Books; Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay, Executive Director, National Research Council of the Philippines; Dr. Laura David, FWIS Philippines National Fellow 2011; and Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, FWIS Philippines National Fellow 2012, to name a few. Each shared on their experiences as Filipina scientists and the opportunities that they see for more thought-leaders in the community.


Ms. Rina Jimenez-David including Dr. Didith Rodrigo, Scientist and Author of “Women in Science” Children’s Books; Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay, Executive Director, National Research Council of the Philippines; and Dr. Laura David, FWIS Philippines National Fellow 2011; and Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, FWIS Philippines National Fellow 2012,
Empowered women on inspiring the next generation of Filipina scientists. Columnist Ms. Rina Jimenez-David moderates a panel discussion with distinguished scientists Dr. Didith Rodrigo, Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay, Dr. Laura David, and Dr. Aletta Yñiguez as they shared their experiences as women scientists and provided guidance to aspiring scientists.

Through the discussion, it is L’Oréal’s and UNESCO’s hope to encourage visibility on the challenges
and breakthroughs of Filipina scientists and push more sectors to provide support.

In its first year back, FWIS awarded one outstanding woman scientist who is leading with her study in chemical oceanography. Dr. Charissa Ferrera is recognized as the FWIS Philippines National Fellow 2018. With a relevant and timely research on the water quality in coastal areas and fishing localities particularly Bolinao and Anda, Dr. Ferrera pushes for sustainable mariculture by advocating to help communities recover from effects of pollution through effective science communication.

“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,” shares Dr. Ferrera on winning the fellowship. As a woman who dared to ask, she hopes to encourage women who want to become researchers to stay motivated. “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 circumstances,” advised Dr. Ferrera.

After its first year back in the country, FWIS looks at further pushing the needle to create an impact in the local scientific community and will continue to recognize women in the field as well as encourage awareness among the younger generation.

L’Oréal Philippines Managing Director, Thibault de Saint Victor.
L’Oréal Philippines Managing Director, Thibault de Saint Victor.

UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Director, Prof. Shahbaz Khan
UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Director, Prof. Shahbaz Khan.

National Academy of Science and Technology President, Dr. Rhodora Azanza
National Academy of Science and Technology President, Dr. Rhodora Azanza.

Celebrating and recognizing remarkable women scientists. Two For Women In Science Global Laureates graced the Philippine Ceremony of the program and served as an inspiration to future women scientists:

Dr. Reiko Kuroda was awarded the FWIS Global Laureate for Asia/Pacific in 2013.
Dr. Reiko Kuroda was awarded the FWIS Global Laureate for Asia/Pacific in 2013.

Dr. Lourdes Cruz is the FWIS Global Laureate for Asia/Pacific in 2010,the first and only Filipina and Southeast Asian to win the award in its two-decade run, and is FWIS Philippines 2018 Jury President.
Dr. Lourdes Cruz is the FWIS Global Laureate for Asia/Pacific in 2010,the first and only Filipina and Southeast Asian to win the award in its two-decade run, and is FWIS Philippines 2018 Jury President.

The world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including overfishing, posing major threats to marine biodiversity and coastal habitats. An advocate for sustainable fisheries management, L’Oréal- UNESCO For Women In Science 2018 Philippine National Fellow, Dr. Charissa Ferrera's work is focused on educating and advocating for more sustainable practices among fishermen and local government units, specifically in Anda and Bolinao.
The world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including overfishing, posing major threats to marine biodiversity and coastal habitats. An advocate for sustainable fisheries management, L’Oréal- UNESCO For Women In Science 2018 Philippine National Fellow, Dr. Charissa Ferrera's work is focused on educating and advocating for more sustainable practices among fishermen and local government units, specifically in Anda and Bolinao.

Representatives from L’Oréal, UNESCO, NAST, and the scientific community come together to sign the manifesto pushing for increased women participation and success in the field of science.


Public and private sector leaders had pledged to empowering more women in Sciences during the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Ceremony last June 5, 2018 held at the Century City Mall, Makati.

For more on the topic, you may follow them on Twitter @loreal and @4womeninscience
#FWIS #ForWomenInScience.

#fwis, We need women in Science to turn Dreams to Vision. Girls with Dreams become women with Vision!!!
I love the message: We need women in Science to turn Dreams to Vision. Girls with Dreams become women with Vision!!! We face unprecedented challenges in our world: climate change, sustainable energy, affordable healthcare, security among other issues. A great part of the complex solutions will come from innovations in science, and as such, we cannot afford to continue having women under-represented in the field.

Thanks L'Oreal Philippines for these- Serie Expert shampoo and conditioner, lipsticks- Collection Star by Sonam, Rouge Magique in Miss Chocolate, Color Riche in Arabian Night and Blackbuster super liner!!!

 L'Oreal for Serie Expert shampoo and conditioner, lipsticks- Collection Star by Sonam, Rouge Magique in Miss Chocolate, Color Riche in Arabian Night and Blackbuster super liner

Congratulations Dr. Charissa Ferrera for being awarded L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women In Science 2018 Philippine National Fellow!

Public and private sector leaders had pledged to empowering more women in Sciences during the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Ceremony last June 5, 2018 held at the Century City Mall, Makati. Thanks for reading! :)

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