Chinese authorities presented awards to 10 female scientists on Feb. 28, in an effort to honor their remarkable achievements in the natural sciences. The awards were also intended to promote gender equality in the country’s academic community.
The China Young Female Scientists Awards (CYFSA), an annual award honoring leading female scientists in China, was co-founded in 2004 by the All-China Women’s Federation, the China Association for Science and Technology and L’Oreal China. This year’s winners, outstanding experts in the fields of biomedicine, mathematics and materials science, all achieved great scientific progress through their cutting-edge research.
“I’ve received many awards as a scientist, but this one is quite unique,” Tian Mei, a professor of medicine at Zhejiang University, told Thepaper.cn, adding that receiving the award makes her feel responsible for promoting gender equality in Chinese academia. Tian won the award for her research on molecular imaging technologies.
Du Lan, an expert in warning radar technologies, said that there is no biological difference between men and women when it comes to intelligence, but female scientists may face more obstacles in their academic careers compared to their male colleagues.
“Ever since I became a mother, I have to find a balance between my family and my career. I hope more public attention can be given to female scientists so that they can chase their scientific dreams,” Du reflected.
Sexism in the academic community has dampened many female researchers' enthusiasm for the industry. According to Thepaper.cn, all the winners have, at one time or another, had people question their ability to carry out research because of their gender.
“The award was established 13 years ago. The winners have demonstrated advanced research skills, and we hope the award can offer more models for female researchers, encouraging them to stick with science,” an executive from L’Oreal told Thepaper.cn.