On 2 October 2018, Canadian Physicist Donna Strickland became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics since Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963. Strickland shares the prize with colleages Arthur Ashkin and Gérard Mourou for their groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said of this landmark occasion for women in science, “In particular, the recognition of Donna Strickland should be an encouraging sign for all women in science and more widely for diversity that fosters innovation. The acknowledgment of Donna Strickland’s accomplishments sends an important message of encouragement to girls and women to better commit themselves to the sciences. More broadly, these three Nobel Prize Laureates should spark the talent of girls and boys who will shape the world of tomorrow. Because great diversity fosters greater innovation, we need ever more brilliant minds to get involved in science, new technologies and innovation to tackle the complex challenges of the 21st Century".
To read the full statement from UNESCO and find out more about UNESCO's programmes to support female scientists, and to address the gender biases and imbalances in science, see the press release on the UNESCO website.