Brilliant SA Women Scientists honoured by L'Oréal

L'Oréal South Africa, in association with Unesco and the Department of Science and Technology, rewards outstanding women in science.

Johannesburg -  Leading cosmetic company, L'Oréal, with the support of the UNESCO National Commission has awarded two Fellowships to South African women scientists. The talented female researchers recognised in 2007 are Dr. Carolyn Padoa from Wits University and Dr Marieka Grysenhout of the University of Pretoria

As an extension of L'Oreal's worldwide FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE programme, L'Oréal South Africa annually awards two grants to female scientists in the material and life sciences respectively. This year, both fellowships were awarded for Life Sciences.

Marieka Gryzenhout, FABI, University of Pretoria, impressed the panel by her undoubted passion for her field i.e. tree fungi. She has a number of international publications (9). She is an acknowledged international authority in her subject and has been invited to speak at two international conferences. This is particularly impressive having graduated with her PhD in 2006.

Carolyn Padoa, National Health Laboratory Services, University of the Witwatersrand has done groundbreaking work on the cloning of genes that can be used in the detection of Type 1 diabetes and has also determined active sites. Excellent basic research with great medical implications. 3 publications and a number of impressive awards.

These remarkable young women are following directions in their research that will ultimately benefit humanity as a whole, and L'Oréal awarded each of them a Fellowship of R 60 000 at the Women in Science Awards dinner that took place on 3 August 2007.

"L'Oréal is proud to recognise and support South African women scientists and we are honoured to be associated with these two excellent role models," says Philippe Raffray, Managing Director of L'Oréal South Africa. Initiated in 1998 by L'Oréal and UNESCO, FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE is an international programme that aims to recognise, encourage and promote women in science. It is inspired by two main goals: to honour established women researchers in the Life Sciences and Material Sciences, and to help young women researchers with promising research projects in the Life Sciences. Worldwide, women are grossly underrepresented in the scientific community. L'Oréal supports the Women in Science programme with appropriate action - 55% of its 2000 researchers are women, a figure unmatched by other cosmetic companies. The programme annually identifies 5 leading women scientific researchers, one from each continent, as Laureates and grants 15 Fellowships to promising young women scientists at doctoral or post-doctoral level. In addition to the annual international Awards and Fellowships, the programme has grown to include related initiatives in over 20 countries around the world, including South Africa.

"Through these Fellowships, L'Oréal recognises South African women who are making their mark in the world of science. We hope to encourage more young women to pursue a career in the sciences," comments Philippe Raffray.

UNESCO turned 60 last year and, since its creation in 1945, has been dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting equality between men and women. While designing scientific education programmes intended especially for young women, UNESCO has created several academic chairs that connect women of science around the world. The international report on science, technology and gender that UNESCO will shortly publish is intended to help its 191 Member States develop appropriate policies in this area.


August 2007