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She's Got It 16:15 06 Oct 2021

Science is she: 8 Nobel Prize winners whose discoveries changed the world

And two women were supposed to receive the award, but instead, men did it

The Nobel Prize is one of the highest awards in the world. The award is given to those who've made outstanding contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peacebuilding, and physiology or medicine, those who, by the decree of Alfred Nobel in his will, "brought the greatest benefit to humankind." The Nobel Prize in Economics also appeared in 1969.

From the time of the first Nobel Prize in 1901 until 2020 (in 2021 no woman has yet received the prize), the percentage of "women's" prizes is only 6%; only 57 women have received this award.

According to the UNESCO Science Report, gender bias in science is real and affects women at all levels. Less than 30% of scientists are women. This is confirmed by statistics: women are less represented than men in prestigious universities and among senior executives, i.e. in those positions where scientists are most often published. This leads to insufficient research funding, a reduced number of publications, reduced visibility, and slower career growth.

Three years ago, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences finally recognized that women and ethnic minorities were underrepresented among Nobel laureates. To remedy this, the academy requested more women as candidates and explicitly pointed out in the letters the need to adhere to the principle of diversity, both gender, and ethnicity.

As a result, 2019 was a turning point in the history of the Nobel Prize; then more women were nominated than usual. And the next 2020 brought women more science awards than any other.

Of course, it would be inappropriate to talk about any quotas. After all, Alfred Nobel directly stated that the prize should be awarded to the most worthy. But one thing is clear. Finally, the voices of women scientists began to sound louder, and the scientific world began to pay attention to the achievements of women not only in the struggle for peace.

Nobel Week started on October 4 and will last until October 11. We still don't know if we will be able to see women among the winners this year, but today we would like to remember those scientists who made breakthroughs in the exact sciences. Most of these outstanding women received the Nobel Prize themselves, but some were forced to undeservedly recede into the background, instead, the winners of the prestigious award were men.

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