ETHIOPIAN BEZALEM ESHETU YIRDAW AWARDED AT
2022 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCESUB-SAHARAN AFRICA YOUNG TALENTS AWARDS:
Paris, November 8th, 2022 – The Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO unveil the winners of the 13th edition of the For Women in Science Young Talents Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa. Each year,
20 African women researchers are rewarded for the excellence of their scientific work. For this 2022 edition, BEZALEM ESHETU YIRDAW, Éthiopian, PhD student in formal sciences, is among the awardees who embody, through their backgrounds and research topics, all the diversity and potential of science from the continent. They represent a source of hope for the future of the world.
THE WORLD NEEDS SCIENCE AND SCIENCE NEEDS WOMEN
In the past few years, the world in general, and Africa in particular, have been challenged by successive crises: the significant impact of frequent droughts, the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, and more recently the soaring inflation of cereals and commodity prices. As a consequence, instability threatens more and more countries in Africa. To address these various challenges, more than ever, the world needs science. And science needs women.
Through the 13th edition of the For Women in Science Young Talents Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO reaffirm their commitment to women in science. This program is dedicated to accompanying women scientists on their academic journey, increasing their visibility, and nurturing their careers.
The 20 scientists awarded are working in a wide range of research fields and committed to improving the lives of millions of people across Africa and the world. Securing and increasing agricultural harvests to combat poverty and hunger, halting the spread of diseases such as malaria, improving the management and conservation of vital natural resources, enhancing the safety of their nations in the face of natural disasters, and developing diverse biopolymers for industry. Through their commitment and scientific excellence, these young women constitute a decisive asset for the continent’s development.
Selected for their scientific excellence among 425 applications by a jury chaired by Professor Aggrey Ambali (Director of Technical Cooperation and Program Financing at the African Union Development Agency, AUDA-NEPAD), the 2022 Young Talents make the 16 countries from which they come proud. For the first time, Niger, Togo, and Chad are represented this year.
For this 2022 edition, BEZALEM ESHETU YIRDAW, a ethiopian PhD student in formal sciences, has been selected as one of the Young Talents for her work on Modeling child morbidity using a multi-level Bayesian network.
« To be a woman in science is to be a role model and have a significant
impact on society. »
REMARKABLE SCIENTIFIC CAREERS, EXAMPLES OF COURAGE AND RESILIENCE
Whether they are mathematicians, physicists, biologists or civil engineers, each of the laureates has gone through a journey paved with obstacles. Some of these difficulties are inherent to the world of scientific research in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as the lack of financial and technical resources. Other obstacles are specific to being a woman in science: gender discrimination and stereotypes, lack of female role models or support, and a challenging balance between professional and personal life. Thus, these women scientists have had to combine perseverance and determination in order to reach their goals and establish themselves in fields still confined to men.
At a time when the mobilization of all scientific talent has never been so crucial, global academia still gives too little space to women, and to Africa. As an illustration, the proportion of African scientists among world researchers is only 2.5%
“Without women, no progress is possible. We cannot move forward if half of humanity is left behind. We must encourage women, make them visible, empower them to fight against existing obstacles and allow them to inspire future generations” said Alexandra Palt, Executive Director of the Fondation L’Oréal, at the 2022 Education Transformation Summit at the United Nations headquarters last September.
“By adopting Gender Equality as a transversal priority, UNESCO has committed to making a positive and lasting contribution to women’s empowerment in education, the sciences, culture and communication. Supporting gender equality in science should stem from transformative policies ensuring that women and girls are empowered to lead and innovate, promoting women scientists as positive role models and building awareness at the highest levels of decision-making”, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO.
THE REGIONAL YOUNG TALENTS AWARDS FOR SUB–SAHARAN AFRICA
The purpose of the Young Talents Awards is to support women scientists in the pursuit their careers, and more generally to promote and strengthen the role of women in science.
The 20 awarded researchers will receive financial support to help them conduct their research project (grants of €10,000 for doctoral students and €15,000 for post-doctoral students). However, the program goes beyond financial support: it also offers participants an opportunity to receive comprehensive leadership training. The purpose of the training is to contribute to the personal and professional development of the Young Talents and enable them to break the glass ceiling, becoming new female role models in science.
In December 2022, the 20 Talents will join the community of 181 female researchers who have been supported and honored by the For Women in Science Young Talents Program in Sub-Saharan Africa since its launch in
2010. Initiated in 2000 in partnership with UNESCO, the Fondation L’Oréal’s For Women in Science national and regional Young Talents programs provide nearly 250 endowments each year in more than 110 countries. These awards provide Young Talents with specific support at a pivotal moment in their careers.