Ecuador's Silvia Gonzalez and Guyana's Dawn Iona Fox have been awarded the Elsevier Awards for early-career female scientists in the developing world for their contributions in the field of chemistry.
Other awardees in the 2018 edition of the annual Elsevier Award were Hasibun Naher (Bangladesh), Germanie Djuidje (Cameroon), and Witri Wahyu (Indonesia).
Nominations are accepted from early career scientists (within ten years of graduating with a Ph.D. degree) from the 81 countries with low scientific output as defined by the World Academy of Science and reviewed by the president of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World.
The winners receive each a cash award of US$5,000 and all-expenses-paid attendance at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Silvia Gonzalez was recognized for her achievements in molecular modelling of new sustainable materials, Hasibun Naher for her work on computer simulation of tsunamis, Djuidje Kenmoe for the study of molecular friction-and-wear to improve energy efficiency, Wahyu for her research on the synthesis of metal-organic frameworks for various applications in medicine or environmental protection, and Fox for her work on converting waste into materials with added value.
This year’s awardees, who also mentor young scientists in their countries and improve the lives and livelihoods of their communities, were honored in a ceremony on Feb. 17.
The award seeks to encourage women scientists in, particularly challenging conditions.
According to 2015 report compiled by UNESCO and reported on by SciDev: "women in much of the world face social, political and economic barriers to dedicating their working life to science — but those who live in developing countries can face additional, different obstacles.#
They explained women “face social, political and economic barriers to dedicating their working life to science... but those who live in developing countries can face additional, different obstacles,” such as poverty and cultural barriers.
According to the UNESCO, poverty plays an important role in keeping girls out of school because families opt for sending their sons to school and keep their girls at home.
OWSD president, Jennifer Thomson, said the women, who received this year´s award, “show that, if they have the opportunities and support, women in the developing world can become leaders in their fields.”