Each year, the L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science Programme supports more than 275 doctoral and post-doctoral students from all over the world. On 21 November 2019, the 10th Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talent ceremony of this programme was held in Dakar, Senegal.
On this occasion, the organizers paid tribute to 20 outstanding young women scientists for the quality of their research. These came from several countries in West, East, Southern and Central Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The issues surrounding fairer representation go far beyond the issues of equality between women and men. Africa, all of us, cannot deprive ourselves of talent. “said Alexandra Palt, Executive Director of the L’Oréal Foundation.
During the ceremony, participants stressed the importance of the representation and inclusiveness of women in science, especially in order to participate in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030; the Director of the UNESCO Dakar Office nevertheless recalled that, “As in many other sectors, women are under-represented in science and research. While it is claimed that gender equality is everyone’s business, inequalities still seem to be the norm today.”
During the panel discussion held on this occasion, Professor Awa Marie-Coll Seck pointed out that “there is not enough talk about women who have been able to succeed in science. Role models are important to encourage girls’ vocations.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the prizes to the winners of the “For Women in Science” programme, followed by a word from the First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi.
“While education is crucial, science education is essential to meet the world’s major challenges, including sustainable development. Let us invest in these young girls for the Africa of tomorrow. “