Home / news / After 4 women won the Nobel Prize in 2020, how has the award ignored the achievements of women over a century?

After 4 women won the Nobel Prize in 2020, how has the award ignored the achievements of women over a century?

Women have come a long way over the past century in the humanitarian fields in general, and in the fields of science in particular, but it seems that this participation was not sufficient to give women the right to fair representation in the prizes of a large institution such as Nobel, where compelling evidence indicates a large gap in representation Women in Nobel Prizes.

Since its foundation and the announcement of its first prizes in 1901 until October 7, 2020, 4 Women in Physics, 7 in Chemistry, 12 in Medicine or Physiology, 15 in Literature, 17 Nobel Peace Prize and two won the Sverijs Riksbank Prize in Science. Economist in the Memory of Alfred Nobel, “known as the Noble of Economics.”

Despite the recent increase in the representation of women in Nobel Prizes, it does not change the reality for many women in the academic and scientific circles, as they do not win prizes – especially Nobel – like their male peers, and do not win prizes as much as their participation in scientific research around the world.

Women’s share of Nobel 2020

This year, 4 women out of 10 Nobel Prize winners who have been named so far won, a good share considering that this prestigious honor has only gone to women by only 6% since the award was named in 1901.

The American poet Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the 16th woman to win the prize, while the two scholars, Jennifer A. Dodna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuel Charpentier, a French microbiologist; The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the year 2020, and it was the first time that two women together won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The American astrophysicist Andrea Geese won the Nobel Prize in Physics equally with the German astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel for research on black holes. Andrea Ghez thus becomes the fourth woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics, after Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goibert Mayer in 1963, and Donna Strickland in 2018.

American poet Louise Gluck, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 (Getty Images)

Siding for men

Nobel committees announce 3 scientific awards in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine each year, and each award can go to a maximum of 3 individuals, according to the rules established by Alfred Nobel.

Prizes can be divided into two halves, or equally between 3 individuals, or half of them are awarded to one individual, and the remaining two quarters are given to two, and one scientist can also take the full prize.

However, many institutions concerned with gender equality detected a large gap in terms of equitable distribution of awards between men and women.

A statistical index for Nature revealed the imbalance between the sexes, with women receiving 3.29% of the total 607 medals awarded between 1901 and 2018, while women’s share of Nobel medals in science fields was only 2.77% of the total prizes. 331 awards.

The woman in Nobel for a century

Women represented 2.01% of the share of 149 full prizes (without a split or split). In 1983 Barbara McClintock won a non-shared prize in Physiology (medicine), for her discovery of genetic elements that could change her position on the chromosome.

Dorothy Crofoot Hodgkin was awarded the Chemistry Prize in 1964, and Marie Curie received it twice; One in physics in 1903 and the second in chemistry in 1911, becoming the first time in history that a single woman has won two Nobel prizes.

There are only two Nobel Prize winners in economics, Professor I. Ostrom 2009.

In the past 15 years, only 10 women have been honored with a Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry, economics, medicine, and physiology. Ironically, the same number of women were also honored in the first 100 years of the Nobel Prize’s history.

Between 2001 and 2020, 28 women achieved this honor, compared to only 11 women between 1981 and 2000, and only 7 between 1961 and 1980.

Scientist Marie Curie is the first woman to win two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry (communication sites)

Women versus men

17 women won the Nobel for Peace compared to 90 men, while women won 16 prizes, compared to 101 Nobel prizes for literature that went to men.

The gap grows more in the scientific fields; Twelve women won the Nobel for medicine compared to 210 men, and only 7 women won the Nobel for chemistry compared to 179 men.

In physics, 4 women won compared to 212 men, while the history of the Nobel Prize for Economics has only witnessed two women compared to 82 men, according to the statistical website Statista.

So the total is 58 women compared to 874 men, which is a “flawed” percentage, especially with comparisons with the contribution of women in scientific fields and scientific publishing, even if compared to the percentage of female participation in university teaching staff.

The rates of female participation in scientific research and doctoral theses are increasing disproportionately with the percentage of women’s representation at Nobel Prizes, as 49% of doctoral dissertations discussed in the United States of America in 2010 belong to female researchers, according to a census published in ScientificAmerican.

The magazine also clarified that men and women share doctoral dissertations in Australia equally, while the participation rate of women in doctoral theses in Germany and the United Kingdom is 44% and 45%, respectively, which confirms the strong presence of women in scientific research, teaching staff and participation in general, and denies all What is being said about her low participation rates related to her chances of winning and being nominated for scientific awards, especially Nobel.

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