Women scientists are leading ground-breaking research across the world. But despite their remarkable talent and contribution to discoveries, they still represent just 29% of researchers globally, and their work rarely gains the recognition it deserves. Furthermore, the profession of a researcher is among the most underrated in Bulgaria both in terms of public and governmental recognition and in terms of payment rates.
The main goals of the For Women in Science program is therefore to support female scientists at a key moment in their careers, to recognize their scientific potential and encourage more young ladies in Bulgaria to choose a career in science in Bulgaria.
Project Target Group
The project is targeted at young female scientists in the fields of natural sciences. All applicants should be Bulgarians, up to 35 y.o. with a PhD degree or in the process of obtaining one. To promote the program, organizers rely on support from the scientific community in the country, relevant institutions and local media.
The For Women in Science initiative has a long history worldwide and plays crucial part in L’Oreal’s long-term corporate social responsibility strategy. Ever since it was launched in 1998 in partnership between L’Oreal and UNESCO, the program aims to invest in science progress and to promote the role of women in science and diversity. The start of the initiative in Bulgaria was in 2010 and this year it celebrated its 10th anniversary in the country. So far 27 women have been awarded.
2020 was a special year for the For Women in Science program in Bulgaria, because the initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary! 10 great years for Bulgarian science, during which the initiative awarded 27 ladies for their impressive scientific potential, with a total prize fund of almost 265 000 BGN. The year was also special because the extraordinary events once again proved how much the world needs science and science needs women!
As of early 2020 until December the project partners carried out a communication strategy for the initiative’s promotion among all local scientific communities with support from the Ministry of Education, scientific institutions, and media. As a result, a 15% growth in applicant’s number was accomplished.
The peak of the project was in December, when the 2020 winners were awarded at a special online ceremony attended by the Vice President of Bulgaria, the Mayor of Sofia, the Ministries of Education and Science, and of Culture, the French Ambassador, UNESCO, Sofia University, scientists, and media. Its purpose was to provide Bulgarian women in science with a deserved recognition and to promote the general need of researchers.
So far, 27 Bulgarian female scientists have been recognized and awarded with fellowships totaling almost 265 000 BGN. The applicants’ interest remains strong every year as in 2020 a 15% growth in the number of received applications was registered as well as rise in the interest outside Sofia.
The great media & public interest towards the program (almost 200 articles and interviews awarded ladies in 2020) also contributes to boost the local popularity of the profession ‘scientist’ and trigger national discussions of the importance of science.